Saskatchewan

'It just really hit home for me': Saskatoon student sends cards to Fond-du-Lac following plane crash, suicides

With a simple card and a message of hope, a University of Saskatchewan student is hoping to let the youth of Fond-du-Lac know they are not alone.

It's a good way to let youth know they're not forgotten, principal says

University of Saskatchewan student Aimen Aziz spent time in the community of Fond-du-Lac last May. When she heard of the recent trauma the community has experienced, she wanted to help. (Submitted by Aimen Aziz)

With a simple card and a message of hope, a University of Saskatchewan student is hoping to let the youth of Fond-du-Lac know they are not alone.

Aimen Aziz, 20, was in Fond-du-Lac last year as part of a Science Ambassadors program, teaching students at the local school.

She was touched seeing the closeness and the bonds between people, which struck her when she heard about a Dec.13 plane crash that claimed the life of a teenager and two youth suicides that followed on the heels of the crash.

"Because I know just how strong that community is, and to know that they're going through so much pain at this moment, it just really hit home for me," she said.

'Positive thing out of such a negative situation'

Aziz decided to try and collect some cards to send to Fond-du-Lac as messages of sympathy and hope. Her professors also agreed to spread the word and friends and others began to reach out, saying they too would participate in sending messages.

The response came as a welcome surprise.  

University of Saskatchewan student Aimen Aziz said she was amazed by the response of people agreeing to be part of the initiative to send messages of hope to Fond-du-Lac. (Submitted by Aimen Aziz)

"It warms my heart and it's a positive thing out of such a negative situation to be able to see the love and support that's coming out of the community here," she said.

Grosvenor Park United Church in Saskatoon agreed to be a drop-off location for the cards, with Aziz saying she plans to send whatever cards can be collected in the next week to Fond-du-Lac.

Alex Mercredi, principal at Father Gamache Memorial School in Fond-du-Lac, says it's a good way to let the youth know they have not been forgotten.

Alex Mercredi, principal of Father Gamache Memorial School in Fond-du-Lac, says 28 students graduated from a suicide prevention program in December and are helping to reach out to fellow students in the wake of teen deaths in the community. (Submitted by Alex Mercredi)

'Thinking of us in our darkest hours'

"I think it's really a good gesture and that's certainly a bridge of the gap of understanding, respect, empathy, sympathy and caring notion of Canadian people."

He noted there are mental health professionals working in the community, as well as suicide prevention workshops taking place, but there is a long road to go. The cards will be a "beacon" to all the youths impacted by the events of the last couple of months, he said.

"I'm glad people are still thinking of us in our darkest hours."

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