By Lulu Levy, Staff Writer
Trigger Warning: The following story mentions suicide.
// In response to growing rates of teen suicide across the nation, senior Tyler Singh, in coordination with A Brighter Day, organized a concert fundraiser at Acalanes High School in the front quad on Oct. 14.
Elliot and Tammy Kallen founded A Brighter Day, a charity that hosts events around the Bay Area to provide resources for struggling teens, after the passing of their son, Jake, who was a 2013 Acalanes alumnus.
“A Brighter Day is a non-profit charity that creates and disseminates resources on stress and depression in teens, intending to stop teen suicide. [Our son] took his own life, and we realized that lots of teens like Jake are ticking time bombs,” Elliot Kallen said.
Thousands of teenagers across the country battle depression, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness. Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the rate of teen suicide has increased almost 60 percent between 2007 and 2018.
“My good friend Zach, a Las Lomas [High School] senior, had someone really close to him pass from suicide. When I saw how it affected him and everyone else who knew him, I felt compelled to try and make this situation more positive and to help others in the same position,” Singh said.
The event featured teen rappers from around the Acalanes Union High School District, including several Acalanes students. Acalanes senior Osmani Cardenas, who goes by the stage name G Gualla, kicked off the concert. Las Lomas seniors Timbrell Redding, also known as Wrongway, and Zach Daoud, referred to as Young Guap followed.
“I had a lot of fun. It was great to be able to interact with the crowd. I love doing live performances and being able to see the reactions people have to your music,” Redding said.
The event was an overall success and had a large turnout.
“A lot of people were there and it was super high energy. I was surprised by how talented a lot of the rappers were, especially since they were all students. I loved how they got us all moving and excited,” sophomore Gabe Gardner said.
Many attendees also thought the event was an effective way to raise awareness about teen suicide.
“I think it was a great idea to bring so many people together for something positive and at the same time, try to send a message about an issue so serious. If there is any hope to save a life, I think we should do everything in our power to help,” Gardner said.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, the Acalanes Wellness Center can help. Additionally, visit http://www.abrighterday.info for further resources or to donate.
For immediate assistance and help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.