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Adolescent mental health collection at Plymouth Library expanded

To enhance public knowledge and understanding of clinical depression and suicidal thoughts in adolescents, the SO MANY SPARKLES Memorial Fund has purchased a collection of books for the Plymouth Public Library. This collection is now available to the general public to commemorate the first anniversary of Steve’s death. In addition, the collection’s launch date is slated to precede National Depression Screening Day on October 7th, and National Survivors of Suicide Day, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on November 18th.

            Comprised of 16 books, the SO MANY SPARKLES book collection features brand new and recently-published titles by leading child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists, many authorities in the field of clinical depression and suicidology. They include the following titles:

Overcoming Teen Depression: A guide for parents, © 2001

One in Thirteen: The silent epidemic of teen suicide, © 2001

The Childhood Depression Sourcebook, © 1998

Depression in the Young: What we can do to help them, © 1998

A parent’s guide for suicidal and depressed teens:
Help for recognizing if a child is in crisis and what to do about it, © 1995

No One Saw My Pain: Why teens kill themselves, © 1994

Helping your child cope with depression and suicidal thoughts, © 1990

Helping your depressed teenager: A guide for parents and caregivers, © 1995

Depression is the pits, but I’m getting better: A guide for adolescents, © 1997


PHS Receives New Photo Printer

An HP 1220Cse Professional Series Wide Format (13" X19") Photo Quality inkjet printer was delivered to Ms Kathy Doebert's PHS classroom on September 5. The printer, purchased by the Memorial Fund, will be used for student art class projects, and will replace an eight year old standard format printer which has been inoperable much of the time. The printer bears a plaque in memory of Steve, which reads "In Memory of Steve Pazur. Voted Most Artistic, PHS Class of 2001".


"So Many Sparkles"
A scholarship in memory of Stephen W. Pazur                          

“He lifted my spirits when I was down.”

“He always knew how to keep us smiling.”

“He made me feel good about myself.”

“He would always make you laugh even at the worst times.”

“He helped me with more than anyone else ever did.”

“He was always there for everybody.”

The words above were written by PHS students after Steve Pazur’s death last September. They point to a concern for the well being of others that Steve showed, despite his own internal struggles.

In memory of Steve and in consideration of those he touched in life and with his death, his parents awarded a memorial scholarship in Steve’s honor. This scholarship was open to all graduating members of the Plymouth High School Class of 2001 who will attend a two- or four-year college this autumn.


"So Many Sparkles"
 Stephen W. Pazur Memorial Scholarship


Below is an excerpt from Jamie's essay:


Being a friend to others is very often the reason I get out of bed each morning. All it takes is a smile and a friendly “hello” to brighten up a gloomy day. It’s sometimes hard to find the words to say, to let others know that you are there for them and you care about them…

When a friend has a problem or just really needs to talk, I am very often the person they come to. There is no need for a response on my part, just a caring heart and two good ears.

I have had many struggles in my eighteen years of life. Throughout middle school I was very depressed. I felt as though I had no friends and often felt unwanted. I quickly learned how wrong I was. The summer after eighth grade a very close uncle of mine committed suicide. I was lost. I didn’t want to talk and I didn’t believe that anybody would ever understand the pain I felt. I surrounded myself in self- pity.

It took me a good three years to realize what I had been given. It was a high price to pay but through my uncle’s death, I was given life. The self-pity was no longer needed.

 …When going through day by day I try to look for the best in things. I hate seeing my friends hurt and am always able to find a way to help. Even if I can’t solve a problem, I can try…and I will try…

There is no way to explain the things I do for people. I do the little things - the little things that count the most. I say hi to the kid walking with his head down in the hall. I leave a friendly note for the teacher who really made a difference. I make a phone call to let a friend know I care. A smile is contagious. It’s my job to spread it.

By helping people I help myself. I help myself to believe in me. To know that I can make a difference. There is nothing better than the feeling you get when a friend throws their arms around you and says thanks for caring, it really means a lot.

I’ve been changed in many ways through the things I’ve done. I’ve learned to never give up on myself. I have learned that the smiles I give people come back to me twice as strong as when I gave them. And most important, I have learned that all the community work and charities in the world can’t take the place of one little smile.


Here are excerpts from other entries
to this scholarship competition:


Bringing happiness to others a daily goal

I am the type of person who sets an everyday goal for myself. That goal is to make someone smile or laugh. If I can make at least one person happy in a day I feel that the day is fulfilled…If I notice someone who is alone and looks sad I am the type of person to go over and talk to the lonely person. I feel everyone should have a friend to turn and talk to. IF I have a friend that is upset I am always there with a shoulder to cry on…It makes me feel very good inside to know that I can make a difference in someone’s day (or even life). Because I have been told from various people that I always make them smile it makes me want to do it more. That is why making someone feel better is a daily goal I set for myself…


Smile! Life is precious!

I love greeting new people with a smile and asking them how they are doing. Most of the time I get a huge smile…but every once in awhile I get a grouch…They try so hard to be grumpy and unhappy but eventually I can get them to come around and smile…I naturally reach out and offer my shoulder to lean on. I will always go as far as I can to help a friend. I have learned how precious each day is in life that you spend with someone and to see them smile is beyond happiness to me…


Thoughtfulness, not things

What is the difference between a bad day and a good day…I think that the difference is people. People make all the difference in today’s society where we concentrate more on technology and wealth than on relationships and love…I strongly believe that it is so important to be kind to everyone. There is not a single person in this world who doesn’t need love, affection and attention…Life can be hard, especially for teenagers. I think it’s important to make a difference. Even if it’s someone you don’t know, or even if it’s just saying hello, every little bit helps. It’s amazing how far a little kindness can go.


Humor helps spread happiness

…I hate to see someone sad or upset so I will do what I can to make him or her feel better. I try to reach out to others to let them know if they need a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen, I am there for them…No matter how corny the joke, I will try to use humor to lighten even the most tense mood…Being persistent assures me that the person will heal from his or her problems. I try to keep a smile on my face or have a humorous comment ready to make others happy and laugh, because that is my way of spreading happiness.


Give happiness away to get it in return

Mark Twain once said, “Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.” Perhaps this is what happiness is – sharing our personal joys with others in an effort to enrich their lives…I helped out at a local nursing home, talking to the residents on a daily basis. They greeted me with hugs and smiles each day. I told them stories, but most of the time I was there, I just listened. They told me wonderful things about their lives each day, sharing with me stories of love, loss and everyday life…I am committed to keeping volunteer work a large part of my life. In helping others, I not only fulfill a need deep inside of myself, but I also get to share in the wonder and amazement of someone else’s happiness. And to share happiness – that is to share everything.


Difficulties in life make you more sensitive to others

In my life I have had many hardships. Through my rough experiences, and dealing with them, I have been able to help others and also help myself. I always try to make a person smile. I believe that looking on the bright side of any situation is essential…I know that people’s levels of strength differ…I have realized that in hard times, the smallest problem can cause a person into a downward spiral…Instead of feeling down about myself, I would rather help someone else, which in turn, makes me feel much better…I know how alone a person can feel, and I am glad that people were there for me…I know that helping others has changed me. I have learned so much through experiences that I am positive about so much. I feel happy and I feel like I am making a difference.


Every experience holds something good

I often sit and watch “ordinary” people pass by and wonder who they are. What has life thrown at them? What obstacles have they overcome? Are they happy? I am interested about other people because I know what it is like to have a broken heart, shattered dreams, and a crying soul beneath an “ordinary” shell…one quality I’m constantly trying to improve upon is to place no judgment on others. I see everyone as a valuable part of society. I believe that God has put each individual on earth for a reason. We can all learn and grow from one another but ultimately, it is up to us to have an open mind…I have never been afraid to stand up for the underdog, a friend or not. I can’t sit and watch someone hurting…even through a bad experience, I consciously search for something positive that can come from it. Whether it is a lesson I learned, a person I met, or a sunny day, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel…


We’re all in this together

  …Whether my best friend was having trouble in track and needed surprise inspirational notes in her locker, or a distraught learning-disabled boy in study hall just needed someone to listen – I have experienced the profound value in the happiness of just being alive, putting my life to good use…In a world where apathy is the norm, empathy and compassion are the few qualities left to put this world into perspective…we are all in this together. No matter how popular one is, how much money one has, or what kind of clothes one wears – everyone needs to feel wanted, special and loved. I have learned that these necessities are what connect us all, not just as humans, but more importantly, as souls…I also realize that all I can become in this world is utterly worthless unless done for the benefit of others. Helping, sharing, smiling, pushing, striving, living, breathing, supporting – it all goes hand in hand. If I help someone now, eventually the help will come back to me…



Don’t judge, just love

When someone is having a bad day, the thing that I love to do is just tell them how much they mean to me, and everything that I like about them. Everyone loves to hear that, and everyone needs to hear that every once in awhile…Steve was the one that taught me a lot about myself and how to treat other people. Being as non-judgmental as possible is something that everyone should learn to be…It’s important to look at the person fro what they are about. How they look at life and the people around them. What they stand for and what their personality says about them…When someone is having a tougher day than usual, a nice hug or a big smile may be all it takes, or even a quick talk, or just a good listening session could help. Willingness to help and listen is also a huge key to making people happy that you are around you. I will continue to do the best I can in trying to make the people around me, and people that I don’t know, happy on a daily basis, but all I can do is try…Especially in memory of the person that taught me best.