New initiative wants residents to know 'You Matter'

Kent Weeklies

The city of Stow, in collaboration with Stow-Munroe Falls City School District and several Summit County non-profit service agencies, have announced the launch of a city-wide initiative, You Matter, designed to promote mental health awareness and acts of kindness among residents.

The group, originally formed in November 2019, comprises community leaders and other local and regional stakeholders whose vision is to raise awareness of the rising number of suicides in Stow and surrounding communities. Additionally, the collaborative desires to provide residents with resources and information to ensure all individuals understand that they are never alone in their struggles.

As part of the You Matter project, residents in both Stow and Munroe Falls will soon receive a postcard with a detailed listing of local resources to help in a potential time of need. Nearly 16,000 notecards are expected to arrive at homes around Feb. 10.

The comprehensive list will include a wide cross-section of organizations who can assist in a time of crisis, including the ADM Board of Summit County, Child Guidance & Family Solutions, the COVID Care Hotline and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, among many others. Residents are urged to keep the list as a reference and also share with friends and family who could benefit from such services.

Additionally, a second blank notecard will be made available for residents, local businesses and K-12 students who wish to write and send a personal note of kindness or encouragement to someone to let them know they matter. Cards will be at Stow City Hall and will also be on the city's website to print out.

Total cost of the initiative, including the printing and postage, is about $4,300. 

Several local organizations, including school clubs, have already committed to writing notes to particular populations such as teachers, senior citizens, first responders, hospital workers and pharmacists. The group would also like to get cards to grocery store clerks. 

“I am so proud of the substantive collaboration and the work our team has produced to support the You Matter initiative,” said Stow Mayor John Pribonic. “We have learned so much from the information that our experts generously added to the discussions over the past year – I truly believe this work will make a difference in our community.”

The collaboration will continue in 2021 with continued focus on education and awareness of important mental health and wellness topics.

For more information about the You Matter initiative, visit www.stowohio.org.