Alameda Teen Makes a Difference in the Prevention of Teen Suicide
Lilly-Karin Dandenell, a sophomore at Alameda Community Learning Center (ACLC) in Alameda, California, went into action - proving that teens can make a difference. Her efforts have raised much-needed funds to help prevent suicide in teenage youth, and as a teenage ambassador to the Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (CSS) she has presented at community events to raise awareness.
Lilly-Karin performed the role Alice Blake in Tomorrow Youth Repertory’s production of Up the Down Staircase. The drama tells a story of a teacher who struggles to reach her most troubled students, including sensitive Alice. At the end of the first act, Alice attempts suicide when a secret crush on her English teacher is revealed.
Alice Blake’s story struck a chord with Lilly-Karin. The story made an impact on her and she wanted to make a difference. She received permission to give a talk at the end of each performance about teen suicide and ask for donations for a
suicide prevention hotline. After some research, Lilly decided that the money raised from her appeals would go to Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (CSS). CSS is a call center for suicide prevention and also manages a text line
for teens in crisis. She created a donation box, copied suicide prevention pamphlets, and researched teenage suicide statistics to incorporate into her improvised speech with a set a goal of raising $450.
At the end of the production it was announced that Lilly-Karin’s efforts raised $775 for suicide prevention. In addition, Tomorrow Youth Repertory donated another $400 from the proceeds of the ticket sales to her efforts. Jeremy Goodreau, the Lead Facilitator at ACLC said, “Lilly-Karin is a talented actress who used her platform to help those in need. She is a leader who made a difference in our community by raising funds to help her peers whom may be in need during a critical time in their lives.”
Lilly-Karin and another cast member, Nora Cesareo-Dense, visited Crisis Support Services and presented a donation check for $1,175. The director and staff graciously accepted the donation and formally asked both girls to serve as
In their role as teenage ambassadors, Lilly-Karin and Nora were invited to be guest speakers at a fundraiser held at Lake Merritt in May. The two gave the opening presentation at the Healing Hearts 5K run for the Crisis Support Center
of Alameda County. During their presentation, the teens discussed how theater is their “safe space” that enables them to be themselves around caring friends, and also recited a list of 29 things that give them joy and reasons to live. Lilly-Karin is a teen that has stepped-up to make a difference, and the community salutes her efforts.