With an eye on preventing suicide and other mental health concerns among young people, the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation and Inova Loudoun Hospital are teaming up to bring two touring mental and physical health awareness theatrical productions to Loudoun County’s public schools.
The Claude Moore Charitable Foundation has committed to donating $32,444 and Inova Loudoun Hospital has pledged $32,000 to bring the production “Behind the Label” to Loudoun’s middle schools and “A Will to Survive” to its high schools.
“Behind the Label” features a teenage ensemble that shares how they live with various challenges and disabilities but do not let themselves be defined by those labels. “A Will to Survive” is a rock opera that explores depression, suicide prevention and learning to accept yourself no matter what life challenges you face. It is named in honor of Will Robinson, a Loudoun Valley High School student who took his own life a year ago.
The productions are put on by Same Sky Project, which creates and performs original work thematically rooted in empathy, kindness, joy, and hope to raise awareness about differences. It is part of A Place to Be, a Middleburg-based, music therapy and counseling non-profit.
Loudoun County has seen a rise in teen suicides in the past year. Dawn Meyer, executive director of Loudoun Education Foundation which is funneling the donation to the Same Sky Project, said their intentions are to address suicide and prevent future lives lost.
The productions are expected to begin performances this winter and continue through 2018.