Twin Falls High School Senior Hosts Pickleball Tournament To Raise Suicide Prevention Awareness

Local High School Senior Organizes Pickleball Tournament for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness

This page may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Twin Falls, ID – Twin Falls High School senior John Smith recently hosted a charity pickleball tournament to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention and mental health in the community. The tournament, held last Saturday at the Pickleball Center of Twin Falls, attracted over 100 participants and raised $5,000 for the Magic Valley Suicide Awareness and Prevention organization.

The tournament was the brainchild of Smith, who came up with the idea as part of a senior project required for graduation. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, the issue of mental health hits close to home for Smith. “I wanted to find a way to help an organization that provides resources for people struggling with suicidal thoughts and mental health issues,” said Smith. “I thought a pickleball tournament would be a fun way to bring the community together for a great cause.”

Pickleball, which combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong, has exploded in popularity across the country in recent years. Here in Twin Falls, the sport’s fanbase has rapidly grown thanks to facilities like the Pickleball Center of Twin Falls. “Pickleball is huge in our community right now, so I knew there would be a lot of interest in a tournament,” Smith explained. “I’m so grateful to the Pickleball Association for partnering with me to make this event happen.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was also involved in supporting the tournament. “We love community-driven efforts like this to spread awareness and raise funds for suicide prevention,” said Michael Miller, Idaho area director for AFSP. “Our mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. Grassroots events like John’s tournament are vital for helping us toward that goal.”

Participants in the tournament formed doubles teams and competed in a round robin format, with skill-based divisions from beginner to advanced. Prizes were awarded to the top finishers in each division following the final round. “It was awesome to see people of all ages and abilities coming together for such an important cause,” Smith said. “Even though it was a competition, the atmosphere was so supportive and positive.”

In addition to tournament registration fees, funds were raised through raffle drawings, concessions sales and donations from local businesses. On top of the $5,000 raised so far, Smith is still collecting additional donations through the end of the month. “I’m so thankful to everyone in the community who sponsored, donated, volunteered or participated,” said Smith. “I’m blown away by the response and support I’ve gotten for my project.”

All proceeds will go toward Magic Valley Suicide Awareness and Prevention, which provides free training, counseling services and mental health resources to residents of Twin Falls and surrounding communities. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Idahoans age 15-34, and rates have increased by 48% over the past two decades.

“Too many families are losing loved ones to suicide,” said Smith. I hope this tournament will get people talking and help those who are struggling realize they don’t have to face these issues alone. There are people who care and want to help.”

Beyond the funds raised, Smith hopes the tournament helped break down stigma surrounding suicide and mental health. “Just getting people out playing pickleball and talking about it is huge,” said Smith. “Physical activity and social connection are so important for mental wellbeing.”

Smith plans to host another charity pickleball tournament next year during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September. He hopes to make it an annual tradition even after graduating high school. “I want to keep building on the success of this first tournament,” Smith said. “If we can keep raising awareness and reducing stigma, we can save lives.”

News Source:

About The Author

Scroll to Top