HURRY HURRY!! TYPE TYPE!! GO JULIE GO!!


October 17, 2000

Julie, What a wonderful program. I'll spread the word, and see if we get any bites from around here. Keep me posted. Don Shelby

How exciting! Don Shelby is one of the top news anchors for WCCO News-Channel 4. I hope he can help as I know he is a big advocate for youth.



I wrote to WCCO News on Aug. 9th, they replied Aug. 10th.

Julie,

Thanks for your e-mail. In May our Dimension team produced a story on suicide that was very powerful. I'm going to forward your message to the reporter. Your mission seems like an important follow-up to that story.

Ted

(Ted Canova is the News Director, he forwarded my letter to reporters Kevyn Burger & Kathleen Sullivan)


-----Original Message----- From: JFLYNN1 [mailto:JFLYNN1@prodigy.net] Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2000 4:16 PM To: tcanova@wcco.cbs.com Subject: Teens need our help (I did not put the letter on here as it is similar to all the other ones I have written which you can read below)


I also heard from KARE 11 both the same day I wrote them, and again the following day

Thanks for sharing your story with KARE 11. This information will be directed to our news department for possible coverage. Keep up your good work!

>>> 08/09 4:28 PM >>> Contact Form Submission Email Address: jflynn1@prodigy.net Subject: Helping teens Department: community@kare11.com Message / Comments August 9, 2000 To KARE 11 News, (same letter as the rest)

---------------

Julie, thank you for contacting us. We have done an EXTRA report on Teen Suicide in the last two years. WCCO filed a report in May. I have forwarded your e-mail to the producers at our Whatever program that is for teenagers and airs on KARE on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Jeff Kraker KARE TV


June 26, 2000

Dear Oprah, (I also wrote a similar letter to Sally, Rosie Odonnell, Maury, 4 News Channels and Dateline NBC)

My name is Julie Flynn. I previously wrote you a letter regarding teen depression and suicide. My letter explained how I have been using my life to help others. The reason I am writing again, is so I can tell you more about my ideas and to express to you the need for help regarding this issue.

The statistics for teen suicide continue to rise. Every day, 14 young people (ages 15 to 24) commit suicide, or 1 every 100 minutes. It is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 19 years. Society as a whole seem to be Ďstumpedí as far as what steps should be taken. There are some organizations out there, and they are helping, however, it is not enough. Parents are being educated but the kids are still being ignored. Many parents do an excellent job in watching for the signs, others just donít get it. Self Injury is also on the rise. Currently there are approximately 2 million people in the United States who use self injury as a means to escape from their pain, but only 1 inpatient facility specifically used to treat this addiction. Not too long ago, there was a movie on TV called Secret Cutting. It may have been helpful to adults who were not aware of it, but the kids said it only showed them more places to cut where they could hide it, and it just gave them the urge, so they cut.

For the past month, I have spent all of my days and nights talking to teens on the Internet. It has been exciting for me to meet kids from all over the world. I have become friends with some of them and helped others get help. I have convinced a few to call 911 instead of giving up. For one girl, however, it was too late, she called 911 and then died shortly after in the hospital. She did not really want to die. The majority do not want to die, they want help, they want their pain to go away, and they do not know where to turn. They are afraid to tell their parents and have trouble trusting other adults. I have been very fortunate, they have welcomed me with open arms. It is difficult for me to leave the computer, as I am afraid I will miss the chance to literally save someoneís life.

I had a very difficult time as a teen and attempted suicide twice while in my 20ís. I was not happy and I didnít know why. There were two suicides in my family and lots of depression. However I never related that to my problems, I only thought I was born to be unhappy. I saw numerous therapists and was hospitalized 3 times, it didnít help. I decided if I drank a lot it would be ok. Well, that didnít work either. Four years ago, I went through a 30 day program to stop drinking. I have finally found a wonderful therapist and continue to see her. I havenít had a drink since I went through treatment, and I am finally at peace with who I am. I pray that these kids will not have to wait until they are in their 40ís to find the help they need.

I never knew what my passion was. I remember watching your show listening to people who had found their passion. They were so happy. I had moved from job to job, never happy, just working to pay the bills. Finally I had had enough. I quit my last job in February of this year and decided to become a stay at home mom. My kids, however, were in school all day and I was afraid I would be bored. But I refused to continue to work at jobs I hated. It scared me, I was afraid I would never find a job I liked. I felt being 42, I should have a job by now that I was good at and where I was paid well.

Then, it hit me. My heart opened up and I found my passion. I have always wanted to help people in some way, but decided since I donít have a degree in anything I would only end up working in an office. However, God took me on another path. I was submitting a story I had written to my daughter on the Chicken Soup for the Soul website. I looked a little further and found the Chicken Soup teen site. I went in to look around and my life hasnít been the same since. I soon realized I could relate to these kids because of what I had been through. They began to trust me and started turning to me for help. That is when I knew a degree didnít matter.

My goal for the rest of my life is to help teens from all over the world. I am currently working with someone from a local church, who I met after volunteering for our local teen center that we are trying to build. He is the youth director at the church and has the same passion as I do. I know God put him in my path so I wouldnít have to do this alone. We have big dreams. One of our goals, is to open a center for teens to come to for help. We are planning on making this free for the kids so there will be no strain on the parents. Hopefully, we will be able to provide this service to kids all over the country, as they all need our help. Ideally we would help kids all over the world and maybe in time that will happen. I am writing to you about this in hope that you may know of people or of a company that may want to help fund it. In Canada they have a Kids Help Phone and the Ontario government gave them a $3.5 million grant. Itís a service which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They have approximately 70 counselors and currently has 15 counseling phone lines. It is a wonderful organization and is similar to what we would like to do however we would also like to take it one step further by also having a place for them to go.

Oprah, you are a beautiful, intelligent woman, it is no wonder why your show is such a success. Any ideas or advice you may have would be greatly appreciated. These kids need our help. My plan is to make a lot of noise. Soon everyone will hear me as I use my life to show these kids how wonderful life can be when you simply sit quietly and ask God to show you the way. Thank you and God Bless, Julie Flynn


To local newspapers:

(2 papers printed my letter) >There are two reasons I am writing this to the public. One is to make >everyone aware of the most recent teen suicide statistics. Everyday, 14 >young people (ages 15 to 24) commit suicide, or approximately one every >100 minutes. It is now the second leading cause of death among young >people ages 15 to 19. Another very disturbing fact is many >teens are using self injury (like cutting) to help release the pain they >feel inside. Teens are cutting their skin and watching it bleed, as it >gives them a sense of relief and control. There are approximately 2 >million people in the United States who use self injury, it has become an >epidemic and is an extremely hard addiction to overcome. We as adults and >parents are responsible for looking for the signs of depression, suicide >tendencies and self injury behavior. Day-to-day life for teens and young >adults can become overwhelming and it is up to us to help them. This is a >serious problem we can no longer ignore. > >The second reason I am writing this, is to ask for your help. I am >currently working with Dr. David ___ who is the youth director at >Light The Way Church in Cottage Grove. We are trying to raise money to >build a center, where teens will be able to come to for free, from >anywhere in the United States. However, money is not what I am asking for >now, but volunteering your time for this cause would be greatly >appreciated. Everyday I talk to teens on the Internet who want to die, who >are cutting themselves and want to stop, or just need an extra shoulder to >cry on. If you would consider giving any of your time for this, you may >e-mail me at jflynn1@prodigy.net or contact me through my post office box. > >Remember, we all go through difficult times in our lives, but not everyone >has the proper tools to help them get through. Teens have fewer resources >and some are afraid to ask for help. As adults, we need to be there to >lend an ear, hold a hand, or provide a shoulder to cry on. They are >counting on us, lets show them we care. Also, to any teens out there who >are reading this, if you'd like to help or you need to talk, feel free to >contact me. My address is Post Office Box 84, Cottage Grove, MN 55016. > >Thank you, >Julie Flynn

>

Name of person submitting: Julie Flynn

>

Brand Name: Hastings Star Gazette

> >

Contact me as soon as possible regarding this matter.


one response

Julie, I kept looking in the Internet file for your article and it wasn't there. Then I remembered I did see it a few days before in my e-mail. I had kept it there to address the article at a later time and forget. Sorry about that. Anyway, we keep letters like this local. If this was in response to something that was in our paper, we'd consider it in the paper and for sure the web. Again, South Washington Co. is one of our newspapers and they also have a web site, which is linked to ours. So I'd contact So. Washington or go to their website (you can do that by going through ours) and either post it through the guestbook or go into any story and at the bottom of the page there is a place to post a reply. It is generally intended for response to that particular article, but if this was not an article, there isn't another way to post an Internet opinion. When you post the opinion, So. Washington editors will look at it and either approve or disapprove of the article. Hopefully, this is of some help. Mr.____ Hastings

and my response to him:

Dear Mr._____ I would like you to know that my letter has been printed in the Cottage Grove Bulletin and the Woodbury Bulletin. This is not a problem for just Cottage Grove and just because that is where I live, you have decided to throw my letter away. Teen Suicide is a problem for the whole world and I would like everyone to know just how bad it is. I can't imagine you get letters everyday that talk about how 14 kids are dying daily because nobody is doing anything about it. I am sure your local residents have much bigger problems to talk about so you need to print those. I am appalled at your decision to not print my letter. I wonder how many residents of your town have been through the devastating reality of suicide. I can assure you, there have been many. Sincerely, Julie Flynn PO Box 84 Cottage Grove, MN 55016

To the St Paul Pioneer Press Newspaper after they said they are not printing my letter

To Whom it may concern, I am not only frustrated but extremely appalled with the way your newspaper reacted toward the letter I sent in. The letter was regarding teen suicide and you decided to throw it away. After calling on Monday, July 10th, I was told that my letter, my opinion, was not worth putting in the paper. I don't care what the exact words were, it sickens me. It is no wonder teen suicide statistics are so very high, people like you continue to choose to ignore it. There are currently 14 teenagers who die everyday because nobody cares. I have read your Opinion Page and some letters are interesting while others are just a waste of time. It saddens me to know that people have to be reminded on what to do at an intersection as I thought this was common sense. However, that letter actually got in instead of mine. I am volunteering my everyday and every night to help teens and I will build a center, with or without your help. My OPINION of your newspaper right now is, cancel my subscription! Julie Flynn PO Box 84 Cottage Grove, MN 55016 jflynn1@prodigy.net

The St Paul Pioneer Press then replied:

Would you please resubmit your original letter. I'm not sure if it exceeded our maximum length of 250 words. If so, would you please consider shortening it. If I'm remembering your letter correctly, I'd like to get it in the paper.

This is the new letter I sent, longer than 250 words but I am waiting to see if they print it.

St. Paul Pioneer Press To: Letters to the Editor

I am resubmitting my letter as you requested. Thank you for printing it, I tried my best to keep it as close to 250 words as I could, I believe it is closer to 300, however, I found it very difficult to remove anything if I was to get my point across. I am hopeful you will print it regardless. Thank you very much. Julie Flynn .

--------------------- I would like to remind everyone of how high teen suicide statistics are. Everyday, 14 young people (ages 15 to 24) commit suicide, or approximately one every 100 minutes. Self injury is also on the rise as there are about 2 million people in the US who use this method to ease their pain. It is not Ďsickí or Ďfreakyí, it is an addiction and it is up to us to provide help not condemn.

The past two months have opened my eyes to how badly teens need our help. I have volunteered my everyday and night to talking with teens who are depressed, suicidal, and who use self injury to cope. They are reaching out to me and I plan on doing everything I can. Currently, I am working with Dr. David Carlson with Light The Way Church in Cottage Grove, MN. Our long term goal is to build a center for teens to come to for help, for free, from everywhere in the United States. We hope to someday go worldwide. There is only one facility in the US which specifically treats self injurers and we would like to see that changed.

Many times, teens are afraid to ask for help. To them, suicide seems like the only solution and too often it is. As parents and adults, we need to be there to lend an ear, hold a hand, or provide a shoulder to cry on. If you would be interested in volunteering any of your time, please let me know. We have many projects that we are working on.

To any teens out there who are reading this, if youíd like to help or you need to talk, feel free to contact me. For more information on me and my plans please checkout my website www.angelfire.com/mn2/illstandbyyou

Thank You Julie Flynn PO Box 84 Cottage Grove, MN 55016 jflynn1@prodigy.net

August 8, 2000

Dear Mr. Wellstone, (He is the senior senator for Minnesota)

I am writing to you today in regards to teen depression. The statistics for teen suicide continue to rise and I am on a mission to help change that. Everyday 14 young people (ages 15 to 24) commit suicide, or 1 every 100 minutes. It is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 19 years. Self injury is also on the rise as there are approximately 2 million people in the United States who use self injury as a means to escape from their emotional pain. Currently, there is only one inpatient facility in the United States used to treat this terrible addiction.

For the past 2 months, I have spent all of my days and nights talking to teens on the Internet. It has been exciting for me to meet kids from all over the world. I have become friends with some of them and have convinced some to seek professional help. I have talked some into calling 911 instead of giving up. For one girl, however, it was too late. She called 911 but died shortly after in the hospital. The teens I talk to do not want to die, they want their pain to go away. They are afraid to tell their parents and have trouble trusting other adults. I have been fortunate, they have welcomed me with open arms. It is difficult for me to leave the computer, as I am afraid I will miss the chance to literally save someoneís life.

I had a very difficult time as a teen and attempted suicide twice while in my 20ís. I was not happy and I didnít know why. There were two suicides in my family and lots of depression. However, I never related that to my problems. I honestly thought I was born to be unhappy. I saw numerous therapists and was hospitalized 3 times, it didnít help. I decided if I drink a lot it would be ok, of course that didnít work either. Four years ago, I went through a 30 day program to stop drinking. It was successful and I have not had a drink since. I am finally at peace with who I am. My goal is to reach these kids so they do not have to wait until they are in their 40ís to find the help they need. I have no degree, but I am fortunate that the pain I went through has now given me the strength and wisdom to provide support for those who need it most. This is my passion and something I know I must pursue.

I am currently working with Dr. David Carlson who is the youth director at Light The Way Church here in Cottage Grove, MN. He has the same passion as I, to help troubled teens. I believe it is Godís miracle that I have just recently met him. My small home office is beginning to overflow with files full of conversations I have had with teens. I have a website (thanks to the help of a teen) with over 800 visitors already and I have only had it about a month. I encourage teens to email me if they need to talk or need advice and it has been very successful. This, however, is not enough. Our goal is to build some sort of center, for teens, somewhere in Minnesota. We would like it to be a non profit organization and free for all who need help. Something that does not look intimidating to teens who already face so very much fear. We are looking into following the steps of the Covenant House which is located in different areas around the world, but nowhere near Minnesota. The Covenant House takes in runaway kids, nobody is turned away.

When I have had time, I have written to many public people for help. This is my third letter to you so I decided I would send this one through regular mail in hopes it would get to you sooner. I have written to my Governor-Jessie Ventura, Tipper Gore, Sister Mary Rose (who is the president of the Covenant House), Oprah, Rosie Oídonnell, Montel Williams, Sally Jessie Rapheal, Maury Povich, 4 local news stations, and 4 local newspapers. I am trying very hard to get my message out to the public, but so far I have not had much luck. We need volunteers and funds, and we are not sure where to turn. I did have my letter printed in my local newspaper and was fortunate to get at least six volunteers. I realize how very busy you must be, however I am hopeful my letter will somehow get to you. Any help or suggestions you may have would be very much appreciated. Teens need our help. As parents and adults, we have to let them know we care. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Julie Flynn

PS please check out my website if you would like to know more about me. www.angelfire.com/mn2/illstandbyyou jflynn1@prodigy.net

August 8, 2000 Dear Mrs. Gore, (I have now emailed her twice and sent her a letter via regular mail)

I am writing to you today in regards to teen depression. I know you are well aware of the incredibly high teen suicide statistics, however, I wanted to share with you my plans to help change that. As you know, the statistics for teen suicide continue to rise, that everyday 14 young people (ages 15 to 24) commit suicide, or 1 every 100 minutes. Self injury is also on the rise as there are approximately 2 million people in the United States who use self injury as a means to escape from their emotional pain. Currently, there is only one inpatient facility in the United States used to treat this terrible addiction.

For the past 2 months, I have spent all of my days and nights talking to teens on the Internet. It has been exciting for me to meet kids from all over the world. I have become friends with some of them and have convinced some to seek professional help. I have talked some into calling 911 instead of giving up. For one girl, however, it was too late. She called 911 but died shortly after in the hospital. The teens I talk to do not want to die, they want their pain to go away. They are afraid to tell their parents and have trouble trusting other adults. I have been fortunate, they have welcomed me with open arms. It is difficult for me to leave the computer, as I am afraid I will miss the chance to literally save someoneís life.

I had a very difficult time as a teen and attempted suicide twice while in my 20ís. I was not happy and I didnít know why. There were two suicides in my family and lots of depression. However, I never related that to my problems. I honestly thought I was born to be unhappy. I saw numerous therapists and was hospitalized 3 times, it didnít help. I decided if I drink a lot it would be ok, of course that didnít work either. Four years ago, I went through a 30 day program to stop drinking. It was successful and I have not had a drink since. I am finally at peace with who I am. My goal is to reach these kids so they do not have to wait until they are in their 40ís to find the help they need. I have no degree, but I am fortunate that the pain I went through has now given me the strength and wisdom to provide support for those who need it most. This is my passion and something I know I must pursue.

I am currently working with Dr. David Carlson who is the youth director at Light The Way Church here in Cottage Grove, MN. He has the same passion as I, to help troubled teens. I believe it is Godís miracle that I have just recently met him. My small home office is beginning to overflow with files full of conversations I have had with teens. I have a website (thanks to the help of a teen) with over 800 visitors already and I have only had it about a month. I encourage teens to email me if they need to talk or need advice and it has been very successful. This, however, is not enough. Our goal is to build some sort of center, for teens, somewhere in Minnesota. We would like it to be a non profit organization and free for all who need help. Something that does not look intimidating to teens who already face so very much fear. We are looking into following the steps of the Covenant House which is located in different areas around the world, but nowhere near Minnesota. The Covenant House takes in runaway kids, nobody is turned away.

When I have had time, I have written to many public people for help. This is my third letter to you so I decided I would send this one through regular mail in hopes it would get to you sooner. I have written to my Governor-Jessie Ventura, Senator Paul Wellstone, Sister Mary Rose (who is the president of the Covenant House), Oprah, Rosie Oídonnell, Montel Williams, Sally Jessie Rapheal, Maury Povich, 4 local news stations, and 4 local newspapers. I am trying very hard to get my message out to the public, but so far I have not had much luck. We need volunteers and funds, and we are not sure where to turn. I did have my letter printed in my local newspaper and was fortunate to get at least six volunteers. I realize how very busy you must be, however I am hopeful my letter will somehow get to you. Any help or suggestions you may have would be very much appreciated. Teens need our help. As parents and adults, we have to let them know we care. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Julie Flynn

PS please check out my website if you would like to know more about me. www.angelfire.com/mn2/illstandbyyou

August 8, 2000

Dear Sister Mary Rose,

(Covenant House is sending me information on the steps I need to do to get this going, they called me on Aug. 10th)

I deeply admire the work you do at Covenant House. I have never met you personally, however you are someone I look up to as it is my dream and my mission to help teens. After visiting your Internet site, I was very moved in the work that has been done by the Covenant House. Now, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself.

My name is Julie Flynn. I am a 42 year old mom who has been blessed with three beautiful children. Just recently, I have realized that I finally found my passion. Other than being a full time mom, my goal for the rest of my life is to help troubled teens. February of this year, I quit my job and became a stay at home mom. I did a lot of reading and soul searching, I am a changed person since I quit drinking over four years ago. One day in May, I was submitting a story on the Chicken Soup for the Soul Website. While I was there, I looked around and found the teen site where there were message boards. My life has never been the same since. I read post after post from teens who were depressed, suicidal, and used self injury as a way to ease their pain. It broke my heart, and I knew I had to do something. My life as a teen, and in fact, until my 30ís, I was depressed and suicidal and eventually became addicted to alcohol. Now, I am at peace with who I am, I have never been happier. I knew I had to show these kids, how peaceful their life could be. I now have talked to over 100 teens and young adults. The pain of my past has strengthened me and has brought me closer to God. I thank God everyday for giving me the courage and the wisdom to help these wonderful kids. By being able to relate to them, I have saved lives and have convinced some to get professional help. Many have become my friend and I couldnít be more pleased. I volunteer my everyday, talking to teens, whether they need advice about their boyfriends or if they need to talk because they want to die.

A few weeks after I started talking to these kids, I also started volunteering my time for the local teen center our city is trying to build. I met a man, and I know now that God has put him in my path. His name is David Carlson, Ph.D, he has the same passion, his heart goes out to teens and he wants to help. He is currently the director at Light The Way Church here in Cottage Grove, MN and is already working with troubled teens. We have discussed the Covenant House more than once. We would like to build a place similar, here in Cottage Grove or nearby. I am writing to you in hope that you will be so kind as to offer us any advice you may have regarding this. We are thinking it will be a non-profit organization, and we are not sure how to start raising funds for it. I have written to many public people, in hopes of getting their advice or help. They include;Tipper Gore, My Governor-Jessie Ventura, Senator Paul Wellstone, Oprah, Rosie Oídonnell, Montel Williams, Sally Jessie Rapheal, Maury Povich, 4 local News Stations and 4 local Newspapers. I started writing to them sometime in June and the only thing I have accomplished is getting my letter printed in two local newspapers. However, I have been blessed because out of that I now have 6 people who want to volunteer their time to help us, 5 are teens. Now we need to decide how to pursue this goal.

I welcome you to go to my website, which was made with the help of a teen. The address is http://www.angelfire.com/mn2/illstandbyyou. My nickname is Iíll stand by you, because that is what I intend to do for any teen who needs it. My website will tell you more about who I am and show you how I am trying to help. Currently I am working on a new website.I wanted the address to be easier to remember, so I have purchased the rights to www.illstandbyyou.com and I now have a young man who is starting college who will work on it. He told me he would be honored to help for such a good cause. Needless to say, I am overwhelmed with the kindness these troubled teens have shown me.

We look forward to hearing from you Sister, you are truly an inspiration. Thank you and God Bless.

Sincerely, Julie Flynn