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Yorktown's Save a Life Aims to Make Everyone a 'First Responder'

YORKTOWN, N.Y. — The Rev. Claire Woodley-Aitchison, Rector at the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, said she was quite frankly tired of funerals in Yorktown, specifically those of young Yorktown residents. As a member of the Yorktown Interfaith Ministerial Association, she worked to create last year’s Save a Life program, aimed at doing just that.

“We wanted to stop doing funerals, we wanted to stop counting bodies and see what we could do to stop it at the source,” Woodley-Aitchison said.

This year’s Save a Life will be held Sunday afternoon from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Yorktown Stage and Community Center, and features workshops aimed at both teens and adults.

“What we really want is for people to have skills to be first responders, because most people don’t have first conversations about their issue with a professional, they have them with a friend, or a neighbor,” Woodley-Aitchison said. “We want regular citizens to have skills to be able to respond.”

Sunday’s event is also sponsored by the Alliance for Safe Kids, and President Lisa Tomeny said that there is really a need and a desire of the community to do something on the heels of so many deaths in Yorktown.

“The main goal really is to empower the adults and the teens. We would like for everybody to walk away with one or two concrete things that they can do to recognize a problem. We want people to see that all parts of the community are coming together so that they know if they see something, they need to take action and here are the ways to do it,” Tomeny said.

Specific speakers and workshops at the event include keynote speaker Taryn Grimes-Herbert, about changing bullying behaviors in both teens and adults. Adult workshops include speakers from The Family Foundation School and the Westchester Crisis Prevention and Resource Team. Other workshops include student alumni from the Family Foundation School as well as members of the Yorktown Police Department and justices, members of the suicide prevention team and founder of the Justin Veatch Fund, Jeffrey Veatch.

Woodley-Aitchison said the goal is for there to be gap years when there aren’t young deaths in Yorktown, and that when there are gap years, residents will still come out to educate themselves and inform themselves on ways to help their community.

“This isn’t just for kids who are having a difficult time this is for the whole town so that we can be a whole community of people who know how to offer help,” Woodley-Aitchison said. “This is for anybody who has every wished that they could something, this is something that they can do.”

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