SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WRBL) – When positive signs began popping up all over Smiths Station at the beginning of the school year, the messages sent a wave of happiness throughout the community.
The signs also became somewhat of a mystery, with residents wondering who was responsible for the blips of positivity they were reading.
Now, the mystery has been solved and we are learning there is a deeper meaning behind these messages. The signs are a way of addressing teen suicide.
Smiths Station High School coaches, students and the city’s mayor are who we need to thank. They have formed a group called “Smiths Station Not One More.”
“This group is a call to action for our community,” says Matt Stonebreaker, Head Coach of the Softball team at Smiths Station. “We’re trying to bring attention to suicide awareness month.”
There have been four suicides in Smiths Station since January, all by young people. Lexi Webb was one of them.
“Being with this group has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and It makes me feel like I have people to lean on,” says the leader of the group, Taylor Verbowski.
They were once apart of a secret society of people who planted positivity signs around the community in response to the suicides. They decided to do everything they could to prevent another one.
“We just wanted to create a group so everyone can grieve how they want to,” said Renekia Mercer, a senior at Smiths Station High School.
Taylor Verboswki recently lost her best friend Lexi Webb.
“Lexi was my best friend since second-grade, so it was really hard going through that. Lexi was such a popular person and very loved and everyone looked up to her, the boys wanted to be as strong as her and the girls wanted to look as good as her. A lot of people carry their own weight with them,” Verbowski replied.
Students are on a mission to make sure no one else has to go through life alone. They planted more signs Thursday night.
“That’s one good thing about these young people and the opportunity that I have to be apart of their group. It kinds of gives me a sense of purpose and an opportunity to know that we’re doing what we can do to prevent more folks from feeling that same hurt and that emptiness,” Coach Stonebreaker concluded.
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