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  1. A 2 day yoga festival in the Grand Valley

  2. Involve the local yoga studios, the students, and community

  3. The Yoga festival will be held at our local Palisade high school

  4. It will be during the school year for visibility among our youth

  5. Spark suicide dialogue and make it more visible

All proceeds will go to the local suicide awareness/prevention groups and to the music and arts department in our local schools – hoping that this will make the most impact.

It is our intention that our efforts will make a difference in the lives of our youth, our veterans, our yogis, and our community.

Suicide has become an issue that affects all walks of life, all people, all classes and all ages. The Grand Valley in particular has been hit hard by suicide.

We strongly feel that if we can expose our youth and community to yoga, that at least one more life could be saved from suicide. And even one person spared is a success to us.

The Idea

Since the four of us are plugged in to our local yoga community, District #51 public schools and we wanted to do something BIG... it eventually spurred us to think of this Seva project.

Having deep roots in our local Yoga community, we felt it was relevant that we use yoga and this festival to help heal the Grand Valley.

The four of us have the ability and resources to do something to strengthen our community and bring awareness to this ever present problem. After attending the Hanuman Yoga Festival in Boulder, we knew the Western Slopes needed something similar to spur conversation, learning and awareness.

When the national headlines of the suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade happened it got us all thinking, “What can we do for our community where suicide rates are so high?”

Yoga helps with depression, anxiety, and stress. With this as our guide we offer the Grand Valley Yoga Fest - Hope and Healing for OUR community

The Statistics

Suicides have drastically risen in the US over the years. In 2017, suicides were up 25% across the US. For Colorado, as a whole, the rate of suicide is more than double that of the national average. Shockingly in Mesa County, suicides are up a staggering 65% since 2013!

  • In the US, in 2016 there were 44,965 suicides.

  • Colorado is ranked 5th for suicide and is more than double that of the national rate. In 2016 there were 1,168 suicides in the state.

  • In 2017 in Mesa County, 45 people died by suicide, and there were 340 attempts that resulted in emergency department visits. 

More disturbing than that, among our youth, the number is even worse. 

  • Youth in the Grand Valley are more likely than the national average to die by suicide. 

  • In 2017, there were 5 youth, aged 10-19, who took their life and 100 attempts resulting in emergency department visits.

  • In 2017, there were 7 people, aged 20-29, who died by suicide and 83 attempts resulting in emergency department visits.

  • In 2017, a study to track local hospitalizations for suicide attempts between April to September, discovered that 123 of the 214 suicide attempts were made by people between the ages of 10 and 29.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death between the ages of 15-44.


Your Team

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Bryan & Elizabeth Whitt

Elizabeth and Bryan have lived in the valley for 11 years and been involved in the local yoga community for 9. Bryan is a retired from the Army National Guard after over 21 years of service.

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Troy & Lori Raper

Lori and Troy are both teachers in the Grand Valley. They are connected to our youth and have been in the trenches witnessing the suicide problem first-hand with suicides occurring at all four high schools in the last several years.


Thank you so much for taking time to read our story. If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to start a dialogue.