Help Stand Against Suicide win $10,000 from Pepsi

— A local nonprofit needs your help to win a $10,000 grant from Pepsi.

Stand Against Suicide was started by Tara Olmstead Kinsella of Elbridge in memory of her father, Wayne Olmstead, who took his own life in July of 2008. Stand Against Suicide holds several small fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. All money raised will go to the AFSP at the Liverpool/Syracuse Out of Darkness walk on Oct. 11 at Long Branch Park. The walk seeks to raise awareness of mental illnesses and suicide prevention. Kinsella is one of the Liverpool walk’s top fundraisers, as is her team, Wayne’s Walkers, having raised more than $5,000 so far.

Kinsella would like to take it even further.

Through the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project, small, local not-for-profit groups have a chance to win large grants, from $5,000 to $25,000, that will enable them to make a difference in the community. Organizations nationwide compete for the grants. They win by getting votes. The top 15 vote-getters receive grant money.

At press time, Stand Against Suicide was in seventh place. They need your help to stay there. There are a number of ways to vote. You can vote online at refresheverything.com/standagainstsuicide; you can also text 108370 to PEPSI (73774) (standard text rates apply). You can also use the codes inside the yellow caps from Pepsi and Diet Pepsi bottles and boxes of Pepsi products; each code gives up to 100 extra votes. If you can’t vote online or have numerous extra caps, Kinsella said she will pick them up from you. She can be reached at 882-2500 or standagainstsuicide@yahoo.com.

Voting ends Sept. 30. If Stand Against Suicide wins, Kinsella will be distributing suicide prevention materials to schools, colleges, businesses and at events.

“Many people don't think there is any help for suicidal people,” she said. “They think that if they’re going to do it, there's no stopping them. I've also been told that I'm wasting my time, or that I'm trying not to deal with my dad's death by doing this. I've been told that I spend too much time thinking about it and I should just let it be a part of my past. This is my life that I'm going through. I can't stand back and let it be part of my past. It changed my life forever. I have to try to make something positive out of a horrible tragedy by helping other people.”

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