TWO RIVERS, Wis. (NBC 26) — After losing her dad's best friend to suicide, Two Rivers High School student Kaylee Jensen says the coping process was a big stepping stone in her life.
"I just wanted to be able to help people in that way and prevent people from feeling like that's a way out, because there's so many other ways people can take and so much more help they can get," she said.
Five years ago, she joined the district's Hope Squad, which serves as a suicide prevention group.
Jensen says she helped save another student's life when he thought about hurting himself.
"We decided we needed to talk to the counselor, his parents, our advisors and just get as many people in on it as we could," she said.
Jensen and the Hope Squad inspired the Rotary Club of Two Rivers. They worked together this fall to provide an outlet for community members.
"We became aware of a number of situations in the last few years here at the high school that brought a lot of trauma," Two Rivers Rotary Club President Michael Ditmer said. "We wanted to build them a place where they can go and reflect upon some of these things."
That place is a new Peace Pole outside of the high school. It was dedicated on Thursday.
"They stand as a silent reminder or a silent memorial to peace," Ditmer said.
"This gives them a place to just be present and talk and just let out whatever they feel," Jensen said.
There are over 250,000 cities and towns across the world that have planted Peace Poles. The one in Two Rivers is the first.
"People's issues, whether it be mental health or considering suicide... ultimately, it comes down to having peace in people's lives and peace in the community," Ditmer said.
Anyone can visit the sanctuary.
"Our hope is that this will be a catalyst for further conversations in our community around what peace means," Ditmer said.