Among the many amazing things that Trackside Teen Center is currently doing for Wilton teens, tweens and kids and their families was an event on Monday, Feb. 13 that encouraged meaningful conversation about mental health and suicide prevention, especially among young people.

The event featured Jim Kuczo, a Fairfield resident who created an organization called Kevin’s Afterglow with his wife Kristen after their son, Kevin, died by suicide two years ago.

The Kuczo family’s mission is to engage in honest conversations about mental health to both educate people and remove the stigma around depression. Jim also spreads a message about teaching kids kindness and empathy, the ability to give to others, [and] listen to others.

Though the event has past, a recording of Kuczo’s talk is available on YouTube. Kuczo selflessly shared his family’s tragic story in a way that was incredibly uplifting and powerful to encourage everyone who hears it to be what he dubbed “kindness multipliers” and save lives.

Also make it a point to watch the amazing introduction by Trackside Executive Director Lori Fields, who shared about the transformation and current approach at the organization and reinforced the multiple efforts underway in Wilton to support children and families who may be struggling with mental health challenges.

In addition to Fields, Wilton Social Services director, Sarah Heath was also instrumental in bringing Kevin’s Afterglow to Wilton. The Wilton School District Safe Schools Climate Coordinator Kim Zemo got the Wilton Public Schools on board to join the Town of Wilton and Trackside as sponsors. Other sponsors included Wilton Pride and the Wilton Police Department.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, help is available now. Call or text 988, or chat These services are free and confidential.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) CT  Crisis Line is 800.467.3135.

Wilton’s Social Services Department hosted a webinar Monday, Feb. 6, aimed at helping families navigate talking about mental health and suicide with their kids. The department has posted a recording, an infographic with a list of Wilton-specific resources and contacts and a PDF.