This article first appeared in the Vail Daily on August 19, 2020.
It is daunting to serve an entire community when you only have the equivalent of 1.25 full-time employees, but SpeakUp ReachOut, the suicide prevention coalition of the Eagle Valley, has been doing just that since 2009.
This summer, however staffing has sprouted for the organization, thanks to the support of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and Vail Health.
Last April, Erin Ivie transitioned from part-time to the full-time executive director. Carol Johnson joined Ivie in late spring as the director of programs and events. The team continued to grow in mid-summer with the addition of Emily Boyd as the training and events coordinator and Donyelle Dewey as the training and awareness specialist.
“I have dreamed of the day that we would be able to accomplish all the things our board has wanted us to do over the years,” Ivie said in a news release. “It’s one thing to expand our impact and outreach, but it’s another thing to improve outcomes. That is the ultimate goal. We want to bring awareness to, and train as many locals as possible, about the importance of suicide prevention and loss support. We are in the business of saving lives and everyone can help. This gives me hope because lives can be saved.”
Meet the Team
Ivie, who was born and raised in Eagle County, first joined SpeakUp ReachOut in 2012 as a board member and switched to employee status working five hours a week in her spare time. Prior to going full-time at SpeakUp ReachOut, Ivie was the assistant to Eagle’s police chief where she learned to wear many hats and serve many different community functions all related to safety and community impact.
Johnson, who moved to Eagle County in 1989, has held a variety of marketing and public relations positions over the years, while most recently serving as Mountain Youth’s Community education manager and facilitator of Eat Chat Parent. As SpeakUp ReachOut’s new director of programs and events, Johnson’s approach to prevention work includes an equity and cultural relevancy lens as well as a youth, family and multi-generation approach.
Boyd, born and raised in Eagle County, recently traveled the country coordinating large-scale campaign events for a presidential candidate’s bid. As SpeakUp ReachOut’s new training and events coordinator, Boyd will travel throughout the valley creating and organizing bicultural and bilingual training and educational opportunities for locals to learn more about suicide prevention.
Dewey, the new training and awareness specialist, was most recently a marketing coordinator for Boone’s Wine and Spirits. Before that, she served with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office as a law enforcement officer where she focused much of her training on mental health and crisis intervention. Dewey is a Colorado native and moved to Eagle County right after graduating college.
SpeakUp ReachOut’s board of directors, led by Avon Police Chief Greg Daly as president, and Sotheby’s Real Estate Agent Corey Lamothe as vice president, announced lofty goals this past winter, pre-COVID19. The newly formed staff is working to provide suicide prevention training to 75% of our community over the next five years.
“On behalf of the board, we are extremely excited to welcome Carol, Emily and Donyelle to the SpeakUp ReachOut family,” Daly said. “I know that this dynamic team under the continued leadership of our amazing executive director, Erin, will expand on the many suicide prevention, awareness and loss support programs that are currently being offered. As an organization, we are continually thinking outside of the box to make the most significant positive impact, especially in this current challenging COVID environment. This new chapter in the evolution of the SpeakUp ReachOut organization is very exciting. It has taken 10 years to get to this pivotal point. This could not happen without the amazing collaboration of our partners, in particular Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and Vail Health.”
SpeakUp ReachOut, founded in 2009, exists to prevent suicide prevention in the Eagle River Valley through training, awareness and hope. Visit http://www.speakupreachout.org to learn more.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call The Hope Center of the Eagle Valley at 970-306-HOPE (4673) or Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-8255.