Hill Harper
Hill Harper

The Oct. 21 event at Cass Tech High School, co-chaired by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, will raise funds for free suicide prevention training in Detroit.

Suicide is an epidemic of epic proportions that steals the people we love and devastates families all over Detroit every day. 

In honor of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, A Single Soul, a suicide prevention and training program housed at Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit; Black Family Development, a Detroit nonprofit dedicated to the health and wellbeing of Black families; and L!FELeaders Inc., a youth leadership and career development program, have come together to announce the 2021 Reach for Hope Benefit. 

The Oct. 21 event at Cass Tech High School, co-chaired by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, will raise funds for free suicide prevention training in Detroit. 

The benefit will feature a performance of the critically acclaimed play Right Before I Go, written by Southfield native and Golden Girls and Gilmore Girls writer Stan Zimmerman, starring actor Hill Harper and directed by Emilio Rodriguez. 

The play brings to life the last words of those lost by suicide. This surprisingly light production invokes a raw and authentic approach to storytelling to help broaden public perspective of suicide, eliminate the stigma associated with depression, and strengthen the relationships between survivors and those struggling every day. 

“I am so honored that Amy Nederlander and Rabbi Dan Syme chose my play to raise money and awareness for such an important cause,” Zimmerman said. “This fits perfectly in with my personal mission, as I have been moving more toward marrying art and advocacy in my theater, film and TV work. It will be an especially emotional evening for me since I have not appeared on a Detroit stage since my days as a senior at Southfield High School.” 

The evening will include a message from Detroit native and Cass Tech grad Lily Tomlin and will be hosted by author and Fox2 anchor Lee Thomas. 

Every $10,000 raised will support Black Family Development and A Single Soul in their efforts to offer free suicide prevention training to the community. 

Each training helps both laypeople and professionals identify people who are at risk and learn how to effectively connect them to crucial support before it’s too late. 

“There are countless lives to be saved,” Rabbi Dan Syme, the retired rabbi of Temple Beth El and founder of A Single Soul, said. “In my 46 years of work, this event is a powerful step in the direction of hope.” 

L!feLeaders is serving as the fiduciary for the 2021 Reach for Hope Benefit. Founder Amy Nederlander says we collectively cannot afford to ignore the issue of suicide and its impact on our youth any longer. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst those ages 15-19,” Nederlander said. 

“The community needs to normalize the conversation of depression and suicidal thoughts so people can get help. L!FE Leaders youth (ages 14-24) are part of this event because they want to be able to talk about this, and get help.” 

Tickets for the 2021 Reach for Hope Benefit range from $10 to $100. Tickets can be purchased on The Reach for Hope Eventbrite page: tinyurl.com/b5kcvnkk. 

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Amy Nederlander via email at amynederlander@fueledbylife.org. 

Previous articleADL Michigan Walk Against Hate Takes Place at Southfield City Centre on Sunday
Next articleUSS Carl M. Levin is Ready to Sail