Chicago area students collect 3,100 sweatshirts to show how many teens attempt suicide each day

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- Thousands of student athletes from the Chicago area worked together to raise awareness about teen suicide while giving back to the community.

September is National Teen Suicide Awareness Month. According to recent CDC statistics, there is an average of 3,100 suicide attempts by teenagers each day in the United States.

To demonstrate that sobering statistic, more than 2,000 student athletes from 64 Chicago area high schools set out to collect 3,100 sweatshirts.

"Each one of the sweatshirts represents a person," organizer Joe Trost said.

The effort is a part of Buddy's Helpers' "Making a Difference On and Off the Field Campaign." The annual community service campaign engages students through the PepsiCo Showdown, the largest high school soccer tournament in the U.S.

Students helped load the sweatshirts they collected into a truck at the tournament in Joliet this week. They ended up gathering more than 5,600 sweatshirts, well exceeding their goal.

"These sweatshirts are going to be a part of a surprise delivery to a West Side homeless shelter. So we have the awareness and then the positive impact on the back-end to help enhance the lives of those in need," Trost said.

The student athletes also filmed social-media PSAs talking about teen dating violence awareness that will run throughout the month of September.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention hotline. You can also be connected with someone from the crisis text line by texting "HOME" to 741741 for free 24-7 support.
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