Midcoast Community Alliance staged its second You Matter event at Bath Middle School the morning of Nov. 17, greeting students as they arrived with high fives, hand shakes, and a resounding message of hope.

Jamie Dorr, founder of MCA came up with idea for a morning greeting event as a response to the statistic that 49 percent of Sagadahoc County high school students felt like they don’t matter to the community.

The statewide research, conducted every two years by the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, also found that 59 percent of those in the county’s middle schools feel the same.

Since MCA’s goal is to promote a suicide-free community, Dorr was alarmed that so many students feel unimportant. Creating an event to get the message to them that they do, in fact matter, made a lot of sense.

“Even if it just reaches one child,” Dorr said.

“Life is hard no matter who you are or what family you come from. And we can let them know they’re surrounded by a community that supports them, and if they just take that first step to get help, we are there for them.”

The 100-plus members of the community that said good morning to BMS students included parents, teachers, business owners, RSU 1 Board of Directors, local pediatricians, pastors, police and sheriff’s department officers, the fire department,  Sunrise Rotary, Big Brother-Big Sisters of Bath-Brunswick, city council and staff, Main Street Bath, and Chewonki Foundation staff, who brought 40 of its own students along with them.

Midcoast Community Alliance sold eight $300 sponsorships to fund the event, all of which were bought within 24 hours of her request, Dorr said.

She thanked the city, and its parks and recreation, and police departments, Mid Coast Hospital, Maine Behavioral Health, Acadia Hospital, New City Church, William Raveis Real Estate, and Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skate Park, of which she is current president.

The money was used to buy bracelets to hand out to the kids: On outside, they say “You Matter.” On the inside, students find the numbers for statewide crisis support.

Midcoast Community Alliance also made a video message for BMS students with the help of Morse student Morgan Therieault, Interim City Manager Peter Owen, Sagadahoc Sheriff Joel Merry, Bath Poloice officer Devin Hook, RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel, and local bookstore owner Julie Shea.

You Matter events are surprises for the students, so Dorr could not confirm when the next one will be held, but says other public events are planned.

For more information about Midcoast Community Alliance, visit www.mcamaine.org.

Maine Statewide Crisis Hotline is 1-888-568-1112.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Or text HELLO to 741741.