GENEROUS students at St Colman’s NS in Stradbally have had a busy term raising funds for important charities, including one providing a vital service in the town.
A ‘no uniform’ day last month collected €260 for the Teac Tom suicide prevention charity, which has counselling and drop-in rooms above the St Vincent de Paul shop on Main Street. Students also took part in the ‘go orange’ awareness campaign, which promotes mental health and understanding around the tragedy of suicide.
The Stradbally branch of Teac Tom was the first branch of the charity outside Kilkenny when it was established a few months ago by Caroline Devoy, who sadly lost her sister to suicide in June 2015. In a message to St Colman’s NS pupils, parents, teachers and principal Mr Hanrahan, Caroline said the funding was greatly appreciated and warmly thanked everyone involved in organising the thoughtful fundraising day.
The community-based suicide prevention, mental health awareness and bereavement support charity provides free services for people in Stradbally and across the county of Laois, including monthly group meetings, one-to-one counselling, a family and sibling support group and play therapy for children.
The Teac Tom organisation was originally set up by the Thomas Hayes Trust (THT) in Kilkenny, which was established in February 2014 by Angela Hayes, her children, family and friends following the tragic loss of her son Thomas to suicide in 2010 on the anniversary of his dad’s suicide.
Teac Tom aims to provide a peaceful and helpful space for anyone who has suffered bereavement through suicide, as well as promoting greater understanding and support in the community.
Following the successful fundraiser, the Stradbally students immediately turned to collecting special gifts for the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox appeal over the past few weeks. A huge number of colourful shoeboxes containing beautiful presents – ranging from sweets, toiletries and toys to colouring pencils, books and lots more – was collected at the school and will depart shortly to arrive in time for Christmas for children in eastern Europe and Africa.
This year, the Team Hope shoeboxes gathered in Laois and other counties will go to street children, orphans, children in hospital, poor families, victims of war or other young people in need.