Discuss Difficult Situations 5-7 p.m. Thursday

By Bernadette Lauritzen

The community is invited to a free presentation offering adults the opportunity to discuss difficult situations with youth, related to recent tragedies. The presentation is 5-7 p.m., Thursday at UNM-LA, room 203.

As the schools prepare to depart for winter break, adults, especially parents need to realize how important youth are, in the lives of each other. When Marissa Higdon heard of recent local events, she wanted to see how she could help her community. Higdon, LAHS Class of 2012, a sophomore at UNM majoring in communications and journalism, is currently in D.C. doing an internship at Talk Radio News Service for the semester, and returns to school in New Mexico, this spring.

Last summer, Higdon found herself as an intern for the Agora Crisis Center in Albuquerque, as one of many volunteers.

“I’ve talked to people overwhelmed by their lives, and I’ve also just talked to people who were lonely and needed someone who cares,” said Higdon. “I’ve done nothing that makes me feel like I have positively impacted my community more than the work I do with Agora.”

Higdon knows the power of someone who cares, and is proud to be a part of the volunteer community at Agora. The former Topper has rallied the help of Agora Crisis Team Director Molly McCoy Brack and Outreach Coordinator, Jenn Brown to facilitate a community gathering, this week for those seeking information. Brown received her BA In psychology from UNM and volunteered there for two years, before becoming a staff member.

Agora is an all-issues crisis center that provides several types of free and confidential services, via phone lines and an on-line, live chat service.

“While we were founded and are still based on the UNM campus, we serve the entire New Mexico community,” Brown said. “Our volunteers go through 40+ hours of training to be on the phones, and are available to listen to anyone about anything.”

All community adults are invited to attend the Los Alamos event, whether they are a parent, someone who is looking for more information about Agora and the services, or just want to be part of the discussion.

“We will provide a safe space to discuss some of the things that are concerning the Los Alamos community right now, including how to recognize the warning signs of someone who is at risk of suicide and how to directly and safely start the conversation with them about how they are feeling,” Brown said.

The staff at Agora understands that the topic for discussion may seem scary, but is vital to the health of the community. They also recognize the need for continued support. A variety of organizations will offer continuing opportunities, after the winter break.

Many organizations including; the New Mexico Suicide Intervention Project and the New Mexico Suicide Awareness Coalition will host educational opportunities in and around our community.

To access free and confidential services from Agora, call 1-866-HELP-1-NM or via live chat at www.agoracares.org.