How it all began...
LEGACY OF THE YELLOW MUSTANG©
The Yellow Ribbon program was founded in 1994 by the parents and friends of a bright, funny, loving teen, Mike Emme, who took his life when he did not know the words to say, or how to let someone know he was in trouble and needed help.
"Don't blame yourselves, Mom and Dad, I love you." It was signed, "Love Mike 11:45pm". In a move that totally stunned all who know him, Mike died-by-suicide at a time of his deepest despair. At 11:52pm his parents pulled into the driveway behind that bright yellow Mustang, - seven minutes too late!
The legacy started when Mike rescued a 1968 Ford Mustang from a field where it had sat neglected. He bought it, rebuilt it (as he had others) and painted it bright yellow. As Mike and his mustang became more and more known for his mechanical ability and for helping other teens and friends - giving them rides to and from school and work he became known as "Mustang Mike".
Streams of stories began emerging of the help Mike had given to people. A young mother's car had broken down late one night, leaving her and her two small children stranded on a dark road. Mike stopped and showed her his driver's license to assure her he would not harm them, got her car started, then accompanied them home to ensure they arrived safely.
A classmate told of how Mike had canceled his order for a new transmission and bought two used ones from the salvage yard instead so that his classmate could get his car running too.
As the teens gathered to comfort the family, and each other, they discussed the tragedy of losing Mike. Mike's mom talked with the teens about creating mementos that others could have to remember him with, and she decided that yellow would be used in honor of the cherished yellow mustang. In response to teens asking what can we do?, - she told them, 'don't do this, don't attempt suicide'. 'If you are ever at this point of despair., please ask for help'! Kids took notes! Cards were made with the message to reach out for help, that It's OK to Ask4Help!
On the night before Mike's memorial services, his friends shared their grief and their tears as they pinned ribbons on the cards. Five hundred ribbon cards were placed in a basket and set out at his services. All the ribbon cards were gone at the end of the services! It could have ended then, but it did not, thanks to teens with the courage to make a difference and a family who cares about helping others.
Three weeks - just three weeks! - after Mike's services, a phone call came from a teacher in Wyoming. A student had given her one of those bright yellow messages of hope when the student was at a time of her own need. The teacher called becauase she wanted to get help for teens in her area. (She didn't know if had been such a short time since this had started.) Other calls began to come in from throughout the U.S. - teens were sending those cards to everyone! Teens also began to call and write, asking for 'those yellow ribbon cards', 'I want to give them to my best friend in case he/she would ever be in trouble and need help'. The ripple effect had begun!
The ribbon became the symbol of the program when the teens began tying them their hair and pinning to their clothes on the day Mike died. Yellow was in memory of his cherished '68 Yellow Mustang.
The HEART in the middle of the ribbon is the symbol of the survivors. Our hearts go on & our voices will speak for those who cannot.
NOTE: Dale and Dar are available for Trainings, Presentations,as Keynote Speakers and as inspirational speakers. Call 303.429.3530 for more information
Dale and Dar Emme, Mike's parents:
We truly believe this program was divinely inspired.
We are even more convinced that is so by the fact that over 3,500 precious youth lives have been saved through this program. We aren't the first, nor the only, parents who have said, or are saying these words...but kids heard them and began to reach out for help - and to help others!
We are asking you to help! Please put the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program into your life - BE-A-LINK!: spread the word, distribute the cards, wear a Yellow Ribbon, start the program in your community-school-work-church-LIFE, donate to this worthy charity, and reach out and let them know you care.
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© 1995-2012 Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program
MAIL: PO Box 644, Westminster, CO 80036-0644 SITE: Orchard Court School, Adams County SD50
303.429.3530 Fax 303.426.4496 www.yellowribbon.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org