‘I matter because…’ a self-portrait reminding students to be themselves

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BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Writing words of affirmation on whiteboards and chalkboards, students at Box Elder Middle School are remembering why they – and their classmates – are important during “Hope Week.”

The sentence, “I matter because…” is the way BEMS counselor and Hope Squad advisor Rachel Jensen wants her students to remember their value – even when times are hard.

“All kids matter,” Jensen says.

She says after hearing about students at Fort Herriman Middle School doing this same project, she decided she wanted to do this at her school.

With nearly 1,100 students, crowds of kids gathered for their chance to write why they matter. Some included: I help people be happy; I make others laugh; I’m creative; I’m always looking out for others; and we smile.

“I want them to remember that they matter. Every single one of them matters,” says BEMS counselor and HOPE Squad advisor Rachel Jensen. “To their peers, to their parents, to their teachers, to us.”

After writing down a quality that makes them who they are, students are having their picture taken so it can be hung in the hallway as a reminder for themselves.

“We’re awesome and we belong here,” says Caton Knowles.

And for others to remember –

“When they write on it, ‘I’m amazing cause I’m artistic,’” says Hope Squad member Jaclyn Tucker, “I’m like, ‘I had no idea that they’re artistic.’”

Brigham City is ranked in the top 15 Utah cities with the highest rates of suicide, according to the Utah Department of Health.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call The Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The students’ pictures will be hung in the school’s hallway for the remainder of suicide prevention week.

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