Thursday, September 4, 2014

Look For the Helpers

The past few weeks have been so difficult for those who are sensitive to the human condition. I don’t know about you, but my heart and my head are trying to reconcile how we treat each other…how we see each other…how we find goodness in the midst of sadness.

We are hurting. The passing of Robin Williams. The events in Ferguson, the impact of ISIS, the events in Africa, Syria and Iraq.  This is a time of complex sadness. None of these things are easy to watch or are easily explained.

When I was a little girl, my parents both worked outside the home. Both my mother and father worked in education, and because of that, I started reading anything I could get my hands on at a very young age. As a latchkey kid, I discovered television early on as well. While my parents provided hundreds of books to me, I was attracted to television too! I loved (and still do) all kinds of television. Name an 80’s sitcom or movie, and I’ve probably seen it.  Mork and Mindy, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Square Pegs, the Original Degrassi Junior High, Reading Rainbow, Today’s Special, 321 Contact, The Electric Company, and Designing Women were my “must see TV” programs. These shows made an alien, some really awkward and lovable teenagers in New York and Canada, a talking mannequin, Julia and Susanne Sugarbaker, Levar Burton, The Bloodhound Gang, and Mr. Rogers my friends.

Lately, I really miss Mr. Rogers. I often wonder what he would say in the midst of all of this chaos and sadness. Fred Rogers was a sensitive communicator to children, and his program was so simple and consistent, it resonated with the deepest part of a child’s need for calm, safe, kind adults to lead and guide them. There have been studies that indicate his voice can slow a heartbeat, calm a crying baby, and increase learning retention. Just his voice. What a lovely legacy.

Mr. Rogers spoke simply and softly. He used very few words and was committed to slow and steady teaching. He knew that the world was hard, but that core values and consistent commitment to good would be a powerful support system for children.

He was right, of course. 

When Mr. Rogers was asked how parents might navigate or discuss the scary events that populate the evening news, topics that scare and upset us all, like injustice, famine, war, crimes against humanity, or the death of a friend, his response was so moving. 

“My mother used to tell me, whenever there would be any catastrophe, always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers, even on the sidelines…….because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know there is hope.”

When I think about Delta Gamma, the core of who we are, I see hundreds of thousands of helpers. We’re the helpers! I’m so incredibly proud that since 1873, we have rallied to “Do Good” for those who need our help. Our motto is the simplest explanation of our mission. It is the soft call for action. It is the focus on solutions and service that moves me so, and reminds me that no matter the age of our members, our core identity is good. We “Do Good.” Where we are needed, Delta Gamma is there.

On September 14 – 20, “Do Good” Week will begin for every member of Delta Gamma. I invite you to look at the participation guide and prepare to do simple acts of kindness where you live. It doesn’t take much good to change the atmosphere. And wow, do we need it. We need you to reconnect with the core purpose of Delta Gamma, and find little ways to “Do Good” wherever you are. 

There is one small truth that sustains me when the world gets loud and sad. For 140  years, our women have helped create good for the world. 

We have helped others to see.

We have created pathways to dignity for people in need.

We have lent a helping hand.

We’ve supported communities working to heal and rebuild.

We have provided support for women who are seeking education.

We have stepped up to have hard conversations and create solutions.

Our lectureships on have created safe spaces for learning about triumph of the human spirit, values-based and ethical leadership, commonality as opposed to difference. 

We have a key focus on courage and strength.

We are do-ers. Not just dreamers, Delta Gamma women spring hope into action with our commitment to “Do Good.”

I believe Mr. Rogers would be so proud of our simple commitments and powerful impact. Please join us next week as we work to create hope and “Do Good.” As the world “looks for the helpers”, I hope they meet you. 

"Do Good,"

Cori Wallace
VP: Alumnae

We would love to hear about your experiences during “Do Good” Week! Please email your stories to Elizabeth at Executive Offices. She can be reached at

What To Do When You Suspect Someone May Be at Risk for Suicide

As sisters, it’s our responsibility to support each other and encourage those in our lives who are facing such issues to seek the help they need. September’s Bronze, Pink and YOU topic will focus on suicide prevention. Using the hashtag #LiveGOOD, this month we will share information regarding signs and symptoms of depression, addressing suicidal thoughts, and what to do when you’re concerned about someone in your life. Below you will find invaluable information regarding what to do when you suspect someone may be at risk for suicide from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

1. Take it Seriously
50% to 75% of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intention.
If someone you know shows the warning signs above, the time to act is now.
2. Ask Questions
Begin by telling the suicidal person you are concerned about them.
Tell them specifically what they have said or done that makes you feel concerned about suicide.
Don't be afraid to ask whether the person is considering suicide, and whether they have a particular plan or method in mind. These questions will not push them toward suicide if they were not considering it.
Ask if they are seeing a clinician or are taking medication so the treating person can be contacted.
Do not try to argue someone out of suicide. Instead, let them know that you care, that they are not alone and that they can get help. Avoid pleading and preaching to them with statements such as, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.”
3. Encourage Professional Help
Actively encourage the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
People considering suicide often believe they cannot be helped. If you can, assist them to identify a professional and schedule an appointment. If they will let you, go to the appointment with them.
4. Take Action
If the person is threatening, talking about, or making specific plans for suicide, this is a crisis requiring immediate attention. Do not leave the person alone.
Remove any firearms, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used for suicide from the area.
Take the person to a walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital or a hospital emergency room.
If these options are not available, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for assistance.
5. Follow-Up on Treatment
Still skeptical that they can be helped, the suicidal person may need your support to continue with treatment after the first session.
If medication is prescribed, support the person to take it exactly as prescribed. Be aware of possible side effects, and notify the person who prescribed the medicine if the suicidal person seems to be getting worse, or resists taking the medicine. The doctor can often adjust the medications or dosage to work better for them.
Help the person understand that it may take time and persistence to find the right medication and the right therapist. Offer your encouragement and support throughout the process, until the suicidal crisis has passed.

This information was taken from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention