As a father of a teenage girl, I understand how difficult this age is. Our girls are teetering with one front in girlhood and the other one in womanhood. Add to that the hormones and the cruel world that we live in...thanks in large part to social media.

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Being a young woman has never been more difficult than it is for girls today. My heart goes out to the ones that are struggling and I pray for you all every day. Our children have so much pressure on their shoulders, pressure to do well in school, pressure to look a certain way, pressure to act a certain way, and the list goes on and on and on.

In other words, our children feel that they've been shoved into a corner. Suicide rates among teens have increased substantially over the past few years and lives are being lost to this very real mental health crisis.

Lives like Julia Zepkowski of Owego who took her life on March 29, 2022, after battling with depression. To honor her memory and her life, Julia's good friend Emily Ford and Emily's father, Joe are hosting a golf tournament which they hope will help the community remember Julia's life and also bring awareness to the very serious subject of mental health.

Julia Zepkowski Mental Health Awareness Golf Tournament

The first annual Julia Zepkowski Mental Health Awareness Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, June 11th at Catatonk Golf Course in Candor. While the tournament is fully booked, the community is invited to stop by after 10:00 a.m. to check out the basket raffles.

Additionally, a team of walkers has been assembled who will be participating in the Out of the Darkness Walks to raise awareness about suicide. If you would like to learn more about the walk and make a donation to the team, you can do that here.

If you feel that you have nowhere to turn, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You are wonderfully made and someone will miss you if you are not around.


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