Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 12:42:10 AM

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Players, Coach Do it For Daron

The B-Sens ditching their hockey sticks for broomsticks.  Doing it for Daron, their coach's 14-year-old daughter.

In doing it for Daron, they hope to provide others with the resources  to identify and console troubled youth before their despair and depression turns to tragedy.

"She was a straight a student. She was an elite athlete.  She was loved by her peers, her family," said Stephanie Richardson, Daron's mother.

In 2010, when Daron was 14, she lost her life to suicide.  Stephanie says her daughter struggled in private

"We were very unaware of it.  Her teachers were not aware of it.  We didn't know.  Her physician didn't know and she wasn't a child that exhibited symptoms," said Richardson.

Stephanie and Luke have taken the lead of the Do it for Daron movement to inspire youth and parents to talk openly about mental health and encourage kids and teens to seek out help.

"We need to ask each and everyone of our youth 'are you ok' and 'what are your struggles' but its also about teaching our youth that it's ok to say 'Ion't feel well,'" said Richardson.

According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 10 through 24.  A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9-12 found that 16% of students reported seriously considering
taking their own life.

On Monday, DIFD paired with the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier  for the Broome ball fundraiser to raise money 
to provide scholarships for area youth leaders and coaches to become certified in mental health first aid so they might recognize the signs of distress, open up conversation and provide support.

"Sometimes they wont feel comfortable talking to their parents or sibling but they might feel comfortable that next step away from home whether it comes to coaches or teachers," said Luke Richardson, Daron's father, B-Sens head coach. 

"I think that's what DIFD is really aiming to do. It's open up that dialogue, you know, feeling comfortable to have that discussion.  That can be a really important way to reach out to a youth," said Keith Leahey, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier.

***Ali Warner Fox 40 HD News**

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