Project 5:1 workshop helps parents connect with teens

A lot of people felt helpless in the weeks after the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting, wondering if they can do anything to prevent it from happening again.

Some parents are already taking action, in an effort to identify problems early and then help teens talk through their issues.

Marya Gingrey and her daughter Mikayla, who is in tenth grade, think they have a pretty strong relationship, but they know there's always more to learn about one another.

So they went to Curtis High School in University Place on Saturday to learn how to better communicate with one another.

"This is information that I wish I knew and had available to me as a teenager," said Marya Gingrey.

The all-day workshop, called Project 5:1, was built around the concept that every teen should have five trusted adult mentors in their lives, people who can help ease the stress of high school.

"If they get 5 then we win, if they get 1 then we win," said Billy Sarno, who first organized the event after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

The group now finds themselves reeling from another tragedy, this one much closer to home.

"I think some of them came to this event because of what happened in Marysville," said Sarno.

For many parents who took part in Project 5:1, the same nagging questions linger.

"It's hard not to think about that," said Gingrey.

"They're looking for answers as to what are kids dealing with? Why are they hurting? Why are they going to this level?" said Sarno.

But as high as turnout was, there are so many parents who did not attend the event and as organizers point out, they're the ones who probably need to hear this message the most.


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