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Through the Yellow Ribbon
Program we hope that we can
stop the epidemic that we are
experiencing in Monmouth
County, statewide and beyond.
We need to educate people. We
teach our children many life
New Jersey Chapter of
Each year in the United States, approximately
two million teenagers attempt suicide and
almost 700,000 receive medical attention for
their attempt (AACAP, 2001). In 2001,
according to the Youth Risk Behavior
Surveillance System, 2.6% of adolescents
reported making a suicide attempt that had to
be treated by a doctor or nurse. It is
estimated that each year in the U.S.,
approximately 2,000 youth aged 10–19
complete suicide. In 2000, suicide was the
thirdleading cause of death among young
people aged 15 to 24 years of age, following
unintentional injuries and homicide (CDC
Because suicide is still considered by many a
taboo subject, exact updated statistics are
difficult to obtain. We do know, however, that
schools nationwide are dealing with
attempters, and a great many of them may
face the grim reality of suicide sooner or later.
The 52 school districts of Monmouth County
were forced to deal with teen suicide eight
times in the past 16 months, compared to one
in the four years proceeding that. Clearly,
close to home, the suicide epidemic is
There are few events in the life of a family, school or community that are more painful or potentially
disruptive than the suicide of a teen. Prevention programs have been organized around the globe to deal
with the devastating reality of teen suicide. One of these, Yellow Ribbon International®, is taking steps to
get their Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program® placed in school curriculum. Met with resistance
from most school boards and administrators, Yellow Ribbon International® has taken their pitch to the
kids and the community directly hoping that through education and increased awareness the Yellow
Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program® can inundate schools through their back door.
Jody Joseph, a popular New Jersey music instructor and front person for the wellknown shore act Jody
Joseph & The Average Joes, has teamed up with Scott Fritz, head of the recentlyformed New Jersey
Chapter of Yellow Ribbon International®, to announce the L.I.V.E. Rock For Life Concert to benefit
directly the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program® (www.yellowribbon.org).
The L.I.V.E. Rock For Life Concert is the vision of Joseph, who felt compelled to spread the word about
teenage suicide prevention after the loss of one of her students, Stephanie Fritz, at the age of 15. Shortly
after her passing, Jody approached Stephanie's father, Scott Fritz, with the concept of a benefit concert.
Fritz was receptive to her idea and the L.I.V.E. concept (an acronym created by Joseph's teenage
daughter; Live Inspire Vibe Energy) was born.
"I guess I never wanted to lose someone else again that way," says Joseph. "I felt so helpless. But not
any more. Steph wouldn't want me to. So, I took all the pain and put it to use. The energy is amazing
Jody Joseph and the Average Joes headline the L.I.V.E.
Rock For Life Concert to benefit the Yellow Ribbon
Suicide Prevention Program®
Page 1 of 4 [Chorus and Verse] L.I.V.E. Rock for Life Concert
and, somehow, I believe that her tragedy will not be in vain. Somewhere along the way of this crazy
journey, it will become a saving grace."
This will be the first such event for Scott Fritz and the local chapter of Yellow Ribbon International®.
“My responsibilities, as well as my partner Don Quigley, are to get the Yellow Ribbon program in as many
schools and teen organizations as we can,” says Fritz. “We need to educate kids that it is okay to ask for
help. We need to educate people as to what to do if someone asks for help.”
Yellow Ribbon International® is an outreach program of The Light For Life Foundation International®.
The Light For Life Foundation International® began in September of 1994 after the suicide of 17 yearold
Mike Emme. In the days following Mike’s death, dozens of teenagers approached Mike’s family asking
what they could do. Mike’s parents responded by saying, "Don’t commit suicide. Reach out to someone
and ask for help."
The teens took notes. "It’s okay to ask for help," they wrote. As the teens shared their grief and their
stories of friendship with Mike, they also discussed tragedy of teen suicide and ways in which it might be
prevented. To honor his memory, teens wore yellow ribbons as accessories, a nod to Mike’s prized
"It’s okay to ask 4 help"® became the
common theme and the yellow ribbon card
was born. The cards feature a yellow ribbon
and carry the message that there are people
who care and who will listen to you when you
need help. The other side of the card states
that presenting the card is a cry for help. It
features a suicide hotline and instructions on
what to do to help in case a person gives you
The Yellow Ribbon Program is more than a
card. The multifaceted program is affiliated
with respected mental health and suicide
prevention experts. It offers youth and adult
seminars, workshops and presentations that
teach awareness and strategies to empower
youth and adults.
“Through the Yellow Ribbon Program we
hope that we can stop the epidemic that we
are experiencing in Monmouth County,
statewide and beyond. We need to educate
people. We teach our children many life
skills. Ask any child of school age what to do
if they are on fire and they will tell you to ‘stop, drop and roll.’ But because suicide is still thought of as a
taboo subject, kids are never taught that ‘It‘s okay to ask 4 help‘®, and their friends aren't told that if
someone is talking about taking their lives that they need to stay with that person unless it isn't safe to
stay with them, and then get the person to a trusted adult,” says Fritz.
The L.I.V.E. (pronunciation: 'liv) Rock For Life Concert will feature performances by Jody Joseph & The
Average Joes, and many of Joseph's youngest and most talented music students from Monmouth and
neighboring New Jersey Counties.
“The lineup is a very colorful one. My youngest performer is five years old and my oldest is 43. Every
one of them have something unique to bring to the stage. Some of these students will be playing a guitar
while singing. A couple of students are working [on] songwriting technique so they will be performing an
original song that I cowrote with them. My verysupportive band will be accompanying most of my
students, as well as performing with me for a handful of my original songs.”
“I think that my (youngest students) are somewhat aware of the cause by myself and their parents. I'm
referring to the kids 10 and under but also, unfortunately, some have been directly and indirectly affected
by teenage suicide. With all the visual freedom with television and cable I think that a dawning of
awareness is an important factor for young children today.”
Yellow Ribbon Card (Front and Back)
Page 2 of 4 [Chorus and Verse] L.I.V.E. Rock for Life Concert
“It’s amazing how many people wanted to help,” adds Joseph. “From my students, to their parents, my
band, and other musicians.”
Joining the effort is blues/rock guitarist and
fellow music instructor Matt O'Ree with the
Matt O’Ree Band accompanying him and his
“I was honored when Jody asked me to
participate in the L.I.V.E. event,” says O’Ree.
“(My students) are really excited to do this
show for a number of reasons. Some of them
knew or went to school with one of the victims
so they feel even more compelled to be a part
of the event. I hope that through the music
and the awareness we can help save a life
down the line.”
Local singer/songwriter Dawne Allynne will be
opening the show.
“It is my hope that my participation in the
L.I.V.E. benefit allows me to use my skills as a
singer/songwriter, my experience as a mother
and my concerns as a citizen in this
community to help Jody Joseph, Matt O’Ree,
Scott Fritz and the many others involved in
this event to carry their message to the
teenagers, the parents and all the people of
Monmouth County and beyond," said Allynne.
Invitations to perform have also been extended to some of Monmouth County’s most famous musicians.
Proceeds from ticket sales, merchandise and an open auction featuring valuable music memorabilia such
as a Jon Bon Jovi autographed guitar, a Kenny Olson autographed guitar, concert tickets, donations from
local retailers and gift certificates to some of the county’s most popular restaurants, clubs and spas will
be donated to the New Jersey chapter of Yellow Ribbon International®. The Yellow Ribbon Suicide
Prevention Program® is not funded by federal dollars or large corporations. Donations come from
supporters in communities and go directly to program efforts.
"We are grateful and appreciative that people want to get involved with the Yellow Ribbon Suicide
Prevention Program® to inform teenagers that it’s ok to seek help. Stephanie’s memory lives on if we can
help prevent even one more teen suicide," says Fritz. "We hope that with the success of L.I.V.E. we can
turn this into an annual event and take it nationally."
The internationallyimplemented Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program ® has received more than
30,000 letters from youth that have considered or attempted suicide. The letters contain similar
messages, such as "I’m glad to know that you’re there and help is available," and "Just having the card
makes me feel safer."
“Suicide is a devastating tragedy for the family of the person who completes suicide, for the friends,
school, and community. And, it can happen to any family. We never thought it was going to happen to
ours,” laments Fritz. “Education is a key. So is love. I don't think we can stop all suicides, but we can
certainly keep a lot of them from happening, I have been told three kids have been helped in (Monmouth)
County already, and the education is just starting.”
To date, the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program® has saved an estimated 2500 lives worldwide.
The L.I.V.E. Rock For Life Concert will take place on Saturday, January 29, 2005 at the Stone Pony,
913 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey, 7325020600 at 6:00 PM. Tickets are $15 and are now
available at www.ticketmaster.com and the Stone Pony box office. Tickets for this event are expected to
sell out, please reserve you tickets in advance.
Matt O'Ree Performs at L.I.V.E. Rock For Life Concert
at The Stone Pony
Page 3 of 4 [Chorus and Verse] L.I.V.E. Rock for Life Concert