Turning heartbreak into change; the AJ Lyda Memorial Scholarship

The Lyda family from Declo is turning a heartbreaking loss into an opportunity for change in their community
One family from Declo is turning a tragedy into an opportunity for change.
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 5:21 PM MDT
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DECLO, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — In the year 2018, the state of Idaho had the 5th highest suicide rate in the country, and suicide is currently the second leading cause of death of Idahoans age 15 to 34 years old.

The Lyda family from Declo is turning a heartbreaking loss into an opportunity for change in their community.

After losing her brother AJ almost one year ago, Emma Lyda and her family wanted to do something to remember him, and to promote positivity in their community.

“What happened to my brother last April wasn’t good or fun,” said Emma Lyda who is a junior at Declo High School. “From that we want to move on and bring happiness to those around us and remember that what we say needs to be kind, and we need to have intentions in our words.”

Through the AJ Lyda Memorial Scholarship, students throughout the state are encouraged to use their words for good, and to understand that what you say does matter.

“I’m passionate about this because I believe that everybody needs to be kind, and we need to lift each other and not tear each other down, and what you say matters and it can impact somebody’s life,” said Lyda.

Experts say oftentimes, people who struggle with mental health disorders feel isolated and alone, and for those who live in rural communities, those feelings can be increased.

“We are really hoping that people can understand that when we feel suicidal, it doesn’t mean that we should become really quiet within ourselves‚” said Jane Krumm, a mental health therapist and licensed clinical social worker at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. “It would be really important to find a friend, seek someone we trust and really begin to talk.”

Emma says, she hopes this foundation will encourage people to be kind, and as she works to promote awareness, she knows her brother is watching over her every step along the way.

“I think that with this scholarship we just want to remember AJ, and remember what was good about him, and remember the happiness he brought to everyone,” said Lyda.

All seniors in Idaho are encouraged to apply.

You must complete an essay or a service project that illustrates how words matter across all lines of communication.

The application is due on May 3, 2021 to

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