May 2023 Newsletter

2023 LongBall22 Golf Classic

Family, friends and fellow supporters,

It is hard to believe the third year of the LongBall22 Golf Classic is nearly upon us. As Ben’s dad, this brings a lot of mixed emotions. It certainly brings back great memories of Ben and all the things we did together. On the other hand, it also stirs up the memories of watching the pain and fear Ben struggled with in the last eighteen months of his life. Most of all, as a family, we now live with the never ending grief that comes with knowing we will never have our son and brother with us again.

From our adventures while on vacation to our fishing and hunting days, I never expected any of these to be the last time! To be honest, I even miss the endless debates we would have where Ben was intent to change my mind to see his way of thinking. He really was the ultimate negotiator!

One of the greatest things about the golf day, is the bond we feel with all who attend. I appreciate of all Ben’s friends having a reunion in memory of their buddy and the joy they have brought to my life. The immense thanks we have for all of our friends, both old and new, can never fully be described in a few words. Please just know we are blessed and grateful to have you in our lives.

The phenomenal generosity we have seen since we started in this journey, continues to amaze me. I know through each and everyones generosity, a huge difference has already started in bringing support to the people who need it. Our ability as a foundation to react quickly to someone’s needs, has proved invaluable. In the world of brain illnesses, things can go wrong in the blink of an eye and we are hopeful, with your help to continue to grow and bring more help to people in their moment of need.

This year we are adding a 9 hole competition. This will take place before the afternoon 18-hole competition, We hope this will be just as much fun as the main event. All the facilities at Grand Falls will be open to players for the afternoon and dinner is also included.

We are beyond proud to announce that Blessing Offer will once again bring his talent and share his music with us.

Please keep following the Foundation news as registration will be opening soon for Longlball 22 Classic, 2023!

In great appreciation I thank you all.

Paul.

LongBall22 Featured
on the Midco Minute!

The family and friends of Ben Longley have teamed up with Lost&Found to help drive change on college campuses. Midco Sports’ Jay Elsen has more on how they’re using the game of golf to turn their personal tragedy into a story of hope!

VOA Dakotas

Testimony from the LifeMarks Program

There is a young man you was raised by his mother and his father was absent most of his life. He tried to reconnect with him as an adult and it did not go well. He struggled with mental illness, school, social life and relationships. His goal is work on family relationships and his own depression. He wants to love life again. 

By helping this young man with the fund, you give the opportunity to decrease his depression and give him hope again. He struggles financially even though he does work full time. This is one less burden for him. – Outpatient Therapist

Longley Foundation is Proud to Partner
with Bryan's Hope

As we navigate this journey as survivors of suicide, we have met some of the most kind, compassionate and genuine people. They, like us, have lost a loved one by suicide. In truly listening to family members talk about their loved ones, we have learned some were able to hide their inner turmoil very well and present themselves to the world as happy and fun loving. Others had struggled for many years to hold on to hope. Then there are some, like Ben, who never saw a brain disease coming until it presented itself in varying forms during their early twenties. No matter how or why brain illnesses occur, the common denominators in all our stories emerge. The loss of hope and unending pain.

I encourage you to take the time to follow Bryan’s Hope on Facebook. Our loved ones are remembered as their names are carried on the B3Trucking, Semi, as it travels across the
USA.

Brian Sr., and Robin, thank you for your inspirational gift of bringing awareness to suicide by sharing your own story of love and loss as well as the stories of those whose ribbons are
proudly displayed.

Help us to change the narrative and stop the stigma
towards brain illness and suicide.

We remain blessed.
Paul and Leigh Longley

Watch Part 1

Watch Part 2

Below is a beautifully written note by Bryan Jr’s grandma. Her grief is so real and, as you can see, it never really leaves. For anyone who has experienced loss, I know you will agree, we all just learn to walk with it. Some days that may only be one small step forward… There is no time limit.

Written on Tuesday April 25, 2023:

“We lost our TJ 5 days after his 20th birthday; we had him for 7,310 days. For 3,141 days – 8 years, 7 months, and 7 days – I’ve begged the universe to give me another chance, to go back to that day and change it, promising that this time I won’t fail him. But today I looked at it differently.

WOULD I go back? If I could have foreseen the future and changed the outcome, absolutely. But if it was going to happen the same way all over again? How could I? My soul still cries with anguish to think of the emotional pain he was in; how could I wish for him to have to go through all of that again, for him to have to make that fateful decision, for him to believe that we would all be better off without him?

At first I thought maybe I was entering that stage called “acceptance”; but no, I think that if I ever “accept” his loss, I’ll just curl right up and die. I think that my heart finally got my mind to remember how very much I love him, because I’d rather live with this pain the rest of my life than have him hurt like he did for even one more second.

How I miss you, my love. Forever your Nana Robin”

Peer2Peer Mentorship Interview at Lost&Found

Lost&Found supports student programs at several higher education institutions across the state of South
Dakota. The Peer2Peer Mentoring Program matches trained student mentors with students looking for a
little extra support as they navigate college life.

This past academic year, the Peer2Peer Mentoring Program was available at South Dakota State University, the University of South Dakota, Western Dakota
Technical College, Black Hills State University, and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Lost&Found supported over 50 trained mentors and 61 mentees during the 2022-2023 academic school
year.

Carrie Jorgensen, a Senior Prevention Program Specialist, recently had an opportunity to speak with
a graduating mentor at South Dakota State University. Jae Hanks has been a mentor with Lost&Found for
the past two years, and she has served on the leadership team of the SDSU Lost&Found Chapter.  

Carrie: Why did you decide to become a peer mentor?

Jae: My roommate, Anna Stone, was a peer mentor and brought me along to a few Lost&Found
meetings to introduce me to the club and the Peer2Peer program. After hearing about
mentoring I thought it would be a great way to give back! I knew that I had a hard time
transitioning into college life and moving away from home and would’ve loved to have a mentor
my freshman year. I was excited to be that mentor for someone else!

Carrie: Tell us about your experience as a peer mentor. What was it like to first meet your
mentee?

Jae: It was definitely awkward at first to get to know my mentee and build a trusting relationship. However within a couple weeks I was able to build that connection and form a friendship with my mentee!

Carrie: What type of topics did you connect on?

Jae: The main topics were school, campus life, and surviving crazy class schedules. I am also a very physically active person so I was able to connect with my mentee about healthy lifestyle choices as well!

Carrie: What type of things did you do together?

Jae: We kept our meeting pretty simple and would usually grab food or a smoothie together. We
had a couple meetings that we decided to turn into study sessions depending on when exams came up throughout the semester.

Carrie: What would you like students considering participating as a mentee to know about this
program?

Jae: Don’t be afraid to open up to your mentors! It can be awkward, but mentors are mentoring because they want to be! This program is amazing if you’re willing to put a little time and effort into it!

 

Carrie: Why do you think this program is needed on college campuses?

Jae: I know as a freshman I was very overwhelmed with moving away from home, adjusting to college classes, and trying to make friends. This program helps ease that transition, introduces freshman to more people, and gives them an opportunity to have a friend that can help with study tips, mental health tips, and anything else they may need. I would’ve loved to have this program when I was a freshman and I think it is an extremely beneficial option for any student to use!

Carrie: From your perspective, is there anything else you think sponsors of P2P Mentoring should know about the program?

Jae: I was in the program for two years, and the second year was already bigger than the first year I participated. This is a great program that I truly hope continues to grow and reach more students that need this program!

For more information regarding the Lost&Found Peer2Peer Mentoring Program, you can visit:
https://resilienttoday.org/programs/student-programs/peer2peer-mentorship/