SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The second annual “You`re Not Alone” preseason high school basketball tournament will begin Saturday at the South End Community Center in Springfield.

According to their Facebook Page, this event is scheduled for 9: a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. The two-day, 10-team event, and is proudly sponsored by many local community organizations.

The tournament is organized by three varsity boys basketball team seniors at Belchertown High School, Jackson Couchon, Cal Orzech, and Tyler Marino.

This event is by invitation, and each team is encouraged to raise donations to help benefit the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They are accepting tax-deductible online donations on their website. Guests will also be able to make a $5 donation at the door.

This event took place on November 18th, which is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, which is an event where survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experiences.

“Our community has witnessed firsthand the devastation that suicide can cause. My teammates and I are hoping that with this tournament, we can raise awareness for this very important issue, by bringing students together from multiple schools for a fun event, while at the same time raising funds and awareness to address this issue,” said the event organizer Tyler Marino in a news release sent to 22News.

“We know firsthand the tragedy that suicide can have on a community,” expressed the three Seniors, “So, it’s definitely not only us that’s going through this, so we want to help out the other communities, get them the same help that we got.”

“It’s more important than ever before that we make mental health and suicide prevention education in schools a priority,” said American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Executive Director of Massachusetts, Jessica van der Stad. “We’re grateful for the captains and seniors of Belchertown’s Varsity basketball team – and their very supportive community – for putting together this event which helps to increase awareness, raise funds to save lives, and remind us that we are not alone.”

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