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Fraternity hosts gala for suicide prevention

Fraternity hosts gala for suicide prevention

April 19th, 2017 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Members of Beta Theta Pi at Westminster College send a message that talking about depression and emotions is OK. Emir Mansfield, far back; back from left, Josh Jaycox, Jacob Dehesa, Jon Ruzzo, Brendan Boswell; middle from left, Ben Davis, Andy Ford, Devin Brown, Spencer Granger; and front from left, Sam Lenger Daniel Barone, Zach Gable and Jimmy Villalobos are participating in the suicide awareness campaign #ItsOkayToTalk.

It's a Beta Theta Pi secret what the "Three Star" part of the Three Star Gala means.
"It's fraternity-related," said Trevor Neal, philanthropy chair of Westminster College's Alpha Delta chapter of the fraternity.
The event itself — which takes place at 7 p.m. Friday at the Westminster College Dining Hall — is all about openness and education around a tough topic: suicide.
"The Three Star Gala is a philanthropy gala for CHADS Coalition," Neal said.
CHADS Coalition for Mental Health is a St. Louis-based organization focused on educating about adolescent depression. For at least as long as Neal has been with the fraternity, he said it's had a focus on suicide prevention and awareness.
"This is our first gala, but we're hoping to get something going," Neal said. "We do a philanthropy week, too but we wanted to do something that would make a difference."
Beta Theta Pi is also participating in the school wide #ItsOkayToTalk campaign, where people on campus post pictures of themselves flashing the OK sign.
"It's just about getting awareness that it is OK to talk, as a frat man or a man in general," Neal said. "We don't have to hide from our emotions, as society likes to say."
He said members of his fraternity actively share their feelings with each other.
"We have a ritual in our house where we talk about things that are going on in our lives," he said. "It was very eye-opening the first time we did it. We have three guys who had suicidal tendencies in the past and are in a much better place today because of being able to talk about it."
The gala will feature three speakers, including state Rep. Travis Fitzwater and John Dietl of CHADS Coalition. There will also be a silent auction and appetizers.
"A couple Beta items will be auctioned, like a tie and a flag," Neal said.
The group also plans on auctioning gift cards from local restaurants.
"Everyone's welcome," Neal said.
Tickets are $20 for adults in the public and $10 for college students. People interested in attending can call 573-826-8036 to reserve a spot or pay for their tickets at the door.