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Aurora Street Art Shines a light on Suicide Prevention Month

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Photo by: Ethan Meyers

If you have walked around downtown Aurora this month, you might have seen some of the new street art. Scattered throughout the area are 15 painted light bulbs, put up to acknowledge Suicide Awareness Month.

 

The art is sponsored by Simply Destinee, a youth dance team and organization dedicated to raising awareness and understanding about the issue of suicide in our local community.

 

“We started about six years ago, with just six kids,” founder of Simply Destinee Martin Luna said.

 

Since then, the organization has grown to over 100 students and teachers. The organization was named and created in the memory of Destinee Oliva, Luna’s niece.

 

Simply Destinee is hoping the art project will start conversations at home about the effects of suicide.

 

According to World Psychiatry, a psychiatric journal, suicide is the 4th leading cause of death among people ages 15-19 and has been increasing in that demographic since 1965.

 

“Since November [of last year] there’s been about twenty-five suicides in the area, and the youngest was thirteen years old. It’s happening in Aurora, Oswego, Batavia, Naperville, everywhere. So it doesn’t matter where you come from, what school you go to, what race you are, gender, anything. It just happens. And that’s what we’re trying to stop,” Luna said.

 

Beyond raising awareness, Simply Destinee exists to help kids by teaching them communication skills. “It does build friendships, it does help out with social anxiety,” Luna said.

 

“When you ask a child what’s wrong, they don’t know how to explain what’s going on. So when parents say, what are you going through, ‘well I don’t know’ because they don’t have the words for it.” Luna said. “That’s what we try to teach them here, how to speak.”

 

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Aurora Street Art Shines a light on Suicide Prevention Month