Suicide prevention group to put on garage sale fundraiser

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If you go

What: REPS Great American Garage Sale, a fundraiser for Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturday

Where: Steamboat Springs Middle School parking lot

Cost: $2 suggested donation at the gate

Call: Ronna at 875-2941 to rent a garage sale space; or Lee at NRC Broadcasting at 879-5368 for event information

Other: Booth spaces are $20 for one, $35 for two or $50 for three. The spots are the size of a parking space. Sellers can register in advance by calling Ronna at 875-2941 or Laurie at 846-3456, or they can show up ready to sell Saturday morning.

— The group Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide has put on fundraising garage sales before, but they haven't been quite this big.

On Saturday, the foundation - which works with Steamboat Mental Health Center and focuses on education, counseling and intervention related to suicide and depression - will partner with NRC Broadcasting for the first time to put on the REPS Great American Garage Sale. The event is from 8 a.m. to noon in the Steamboat Springs Middle School parking lot and includes a live radio broadcast by KFMU and booths operated by local retailers and food vendors.

The partnership came together when REPS became a client of NRC Broadcasting, said NRC office manager Lee Smith.

"They have done this garage sale in the past couple of years, and it's been mildly successful for them, just raising enough money for them to kind of skate by," Smith said. NRC Broadcasting has worked with REPS through the planning, promotion and execution stages of putting on the garage sale, she said.

Support from the radio group was sparked by past fundraising events and was somewhat unexpected, said Ronna Autrey, suicide prevention coordinator for REPS.

"KFMU somehow saw that in the paper, and they contacted us and said, 'Why don't we combine forces?' which is great for us because it gave us much more coverage," Autrey said.

Proceeds from the sale will go toward funding programs provided by Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide. Services include a suicide survivor support group, bi-polar depression support group, an emergency on-call therapist and in-school depression awareness programs. REPS also helps lead Routt County sessions of the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program, a two-day course offered free to the public that covers signs of depression, suicide warning signs and intervention techniques.

Suicide numbers are high in Routt County, Autrey said. In 2008, there were nine suicides and 118 attempts, she said. REPS works to educate community members about depression and suicide.

As of Thursday morning, about 35 garage sale spaces were taken, Autrey said. The parking lot is big enough to hold 50 additional vendors, Smith said. Anyone who wants to sell their stuff at the event can register for a spot in advance or show up Saturday morning ready to sell.

"It's a great way for people to get rid of their stuff and for us to raise some funds, and it's all in one place," Autrey said.

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