Florida’s Max Staebler – a 16-year-old Southeast HS student – was recently selected as one of 20 nationwide members on the Youth Advisory Council of The Trevor Project, a national organization focused on suicide prevention among GLBT youth. Max, who completed the Trevor Project leadership training, said he’s concerned about others who could be ridiculed as a result of their sexual orientation.
His concern also comes in the wake of news of suicides related to anti-gay bullying in California, Rhode Island and Texas. Max, a member of the Junior Leadership Manatee Program, Southeast High’s Technology Student Association and National Honor Society, said he knows classmates who have told their parents and were kicked out of the house. So he plans to facilitate workshops for teachers and students to hopefully increase awareness in middle and high schools and teach others how to safely intervene with friends or classmates who express suicidal thoughts.
“I want to teach them about the power of the word, how to spot the warnings signs and tell them what they can do to help others,” he said. Not only does he plan to bring the Trevor Project to Manatee schools, he’s pushing to start a Gay Straight Alliance, a club which promotes unity and understanding. If approved, the club will be the first of its kind in Manatee’s public school system.