KEARNEY – A new Kearney-based foundation focused on teen suicide is hosting its first major fundraising event that will include a concert, food trucks, kids entertainment and drawings for numerous prizes.
McKenna’s Rae of Hope Foundation Launch Party is at 6 p.m. Thursday (April 13) at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.
The event includes an 8 p.m. concert by Kearney-based band The Innocence, and a food truck rally starting at 6 p.m. with vendors Cactus Jack’s Chuck Wagon, NE Burger, The Big Pig and Candy Clouds. A portion of all food truck sales is being donated to the foundation.
The Rae of Hope Foundation was formed by family and friends of McKenna Johnson, a Kearney teen lost to suicide in January. The foundation’s mission is to “prevent teen suicide by fostering awareness, resilience and social change.”
The foundation works with existing community organizations focused on suicide, and strives to increase access to mental health resources and services. One of its messages is simply to “Be Kind.” Five $1,000 scholarships are being awarded to Nebraska high school students who exemplify high character.
“The launch party is another step in promoting kindness and allows us to continue to share that message in Kearney and across Nebraska,” said Scott Johnson, McKenna’s father. “We need to stop the stigma of mental health and really think about the way we were brought up. Respect is a huge thing that I believe is missing in our world today. We need to be kind to anyone and everyone.”
The foundation is selling tickets at the launch party for prizes that include: Denver Broncos tickets with airfare to Denver, Toby Keith concert and Best Western Plus Mid Nebraska Inn & Suites room, golf outing to Bayside Golf Club near Ogallala, Husker versus Michigan St. baseball tickets, and a beef and pellet grill package.
“So many people have approached us and asked how they could help. This event, along with the formation of the Rae of Hope Foundation, is really the start of what we hope is a major fundraising effort,” Johnson said. “The foundation is passionate about preventing teen suicide, and money raised will be used to start implementing some of the ideas being discussed.”
For more information about the event, to donate, or purchase advance tickets for prizes, call Todd Schirmer at 308.627.3033.
RAE OF HOPE FOUNDATION
The mission of McKenna’s Rae of Hope Foundation is to prevent teen suicide by fostering awareness, resilience and social change.