To the Editor,

The recent stabbings at a Pittsburgh area high school at the hands of a 16-year-old boy are troubling and frightening. The sudden death of a local high school student is tragic and heartbreaking.

In these times when teens face enormous pressures at school, at home, in their social circles and beyond, it is important to listen to what our young people are saying. As parents, teachers, coaches, and other influential adults in our children’s lives, we have a responsibility to pay attention to the cues – verbal and non-verbal – given by our youth in order to help them navigate their world of adolescence into adulthood.

But what about the children for whom there is no adult to sit and talk – and more importantly – to   listen?

A statewide service offered by Monmouth County non-profit organization 180 Turning Lives Around runs 2NDFLOOR®, a toll-free  and confidential youth helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to all New Jersey young people, ages 10 to 24. Youth can call 2NDFLOOR at 1-888-222-2228 to speak with professionals and trained volunteers to find non-judgmental and supportive responses to questions about bullying, unhealthy and abusive relationships, dating violence and other challenging issues they may face at home or in school.  The helpline also offers its services in Spanish, staffing the call center with bi-lingual counselors every day from 4 to 10 pm. The website www.2NDFLOOR.org has information and anonymous message boards for youth to share their concerns as well. 

Keeping open the lines of communication with our young people is vital. It is important that they, their parents, teachers, counselors and other concerned adults all know that help is just a phone call away.

Sincerely,

Anna Diaz-White

Executive Director

180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.