August 2023 Newsletter
Longley Family Update
It is hard to believe 4 weeks have passed since we were back at Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort for the third annual Longball22 tournament. It was certainly another day to cherish as a full field participated in the 18-hole afternoon competition and seven teams took part in the new 9-hole event played in the morning. The feedback from the morning event was all positive for which we are grateful; however, to make this financially viable, we will need more teams to sign up in 2024. We do believe this is possible by word of mouth promoting the fun event.
In November 2023, we will begin our Christmas campaign. It will follow the same format as last year, Giving 22. This will remain the same as Ben was only 22 when he left this world. Any donation containing amounts of 22 or anyone who wishes to donate multiples (i.e. 22 x 2) is more than welcome.
Congratulations to all the Longball22 Golf Winners
9-hole: Erik Muckey, Dakotah Jordan, Nicholas Skajewski, Susan Kroger
18-hole ladies: Pam Anderson, Sherri Traupel, Lori Soldatke, Sharon Johnson
18-hole mixed: Noah Bell, Sophie Christie,Jacob Otta, Brenden Bassing
18-hole men: Scott Green, Matt Drake, Nate Reynolds, Paul Mausbach
Thank You to Our Sponsors:
Pam Kessler &
Diane Bauch &
The Longley Family
Greg & Teresa Erickson
Brian & Teresa
Steve & Madeline
One area the Longley family wants our supporters, donors and golfers to understand is how this tournament will never be about how much money is
raised. Yes, the funds are how we are able to impact the lives of our fellow community members in a positive way. However, it is the spreading of
awareness, the change in narrative and the work to stop the stigma of suicide which is so important. As we remember our son, brother and friend, Ben, we can all go forward and advocate for a kinder, more compassionate and gentler world for so many with brain illnesses. Things may not change quickly but, it is the planting of new ideas of hope, understanding and non-judgement which might make it easier for people to come forward and seek help without ridicule or shame.
This year, the funds raised will be distributed through scholarships in Ben’s name to:
Lost & Found: In support of their Peer-To-Peer mentorship training programs.
LifeMarks: Patient initial intake cost for counseling.
National Suicide Prevention Month - September 2023
During the month of September 2023, a suicide bench in memory of Benjamin David Longley, will be placed on the Avera Addiction and Rehabilitation
campus. We have worked hand in hand with Avera Behavioral Health
and Avera Foundation staff in getting this done. It is our hope that whoever
may sit on this bench when life seems too hard to handle will reach out for
help to the Crisis Hotline whose number is displayed right on the bench.
For others who want to sit and reflect on their times spent with Ben, we hope it
invokes memories filled with love and laughter!
I shall post photos of the unveiling for you all to be able to share in this special
tribute to our boy.
Additionally, It is with deep gratitude that through working with Dean Kathy Farrell at the University of Lincoln Nebraska, a bench, donated by the Longley Family, is going to be placed on the campus of UNL. The unveiling of this bench will take place in September 2023.
We are honored and blessed to have a bench placed in the two states, South Dakota and Nebraska, where Ben lived his best life, surrounded by his family and his friends.
Testimony from the LifeMarks Program
A twenty-seven-year-old female who we will call KE, has come to LifeMarks for help. She does not qualify for Medicaid as she makes $200 over the qualifying limit. Our patient is working hard in trying to get her children returned to her care and be a healthy and loving mom.
Unfortunately, KE lives with schizophrenia! She struggles daily with her brain illness and sadly her addiction issues are prevalent. As we know, addiction and brain illnesses often go hand in hand as people try to find ways to cope.
The funds donated by the Longley Foundation have helped KE with her intake copay and assessment to LifeMarks and helped her to get started with counseling sessions. The team at LifeMarks continue to work with KE in the finding the right combination of medications best suited to meet her needs. KE is trying to remain sober, attend counseling, go to AA meetings and remain employed.
KE says thank you to the foundation for helping her get into the correct treatment program for her specific needs.
Nicole Burger, MA, LAC, CPS, QMHP, LPC-MH Supervisee
Fight Like a Ninja
It is my honor to let you know that the Longley Family Foundation will be
Joining together with the non-for-profit, Fight Like A Ninja in early 2024.
Many of you know Angela Drake, who lost her beloved daughter, Brittany,
to suicide and started the Fight Like A Ninja foundation in her honor. If it had
not been for Angela, I am not sure where life would have taken me after losing
Ben….. What better way for mamas with broken hearts yet determination in
their hearts to help others, then to come together for a cause they deeply
believe in. More details to come so watch this space!! – Leigh
A story of heartbreak but with a message of hope.
The following is written by Angela Drake in memory of her precious daughter Brittany:
Brittany Patricia Rose was born March 29th of 1998 and through her childhood she experienced all the love and joy of growing up in a great big family of support. She was curious and active and loved to learn new things that she found around every turn in life.
As a young girl she began dancing and competed in tap, jazz and pom. She loved being part of the team she would practice over and over and when the competition would come, she took the time to support her teammates and rally them up to shine! When her sister started playing hockey, she went to watch her practice, before long she wanted to try it out. Read More
Thank you Angela for sharing Brittany’s story in this newsletter. A beautiful girl with a gentle heart gone to soon.
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
Carrie Jorgensen, a Senior Prevention Program Specialist with Lost&Found, recently had an opportunity to speak with a returning mentor at South Dakota State University, Jenny Sengchanh.
Carrie: Why did you decide to become a peer mentor?
Jenny: I became a peer mentor because I remember feeling lost and overwhelmed when I got to campus. I wanted to be able to help out other students on campus and also advocate for them to take care of their mental health. College comes with a lot changes, and it presents both positive and negative stressors into your life. Being a peer mentor gave me the chance to try and help someone out through this moment of their life.
Carrie: Tell us about your experience as a peer mentor. What was it like to first meet your mentee?
Jenny: I was super excited to meet my mentee the first time. We met up in the student union and talked about our interests and goals for the semester, and then we established a plan of how frequent we wanted to meet up.
Carrie: What type of topics did you connect on?
Jenny: Some topics we connected on was changing our majors, getting used to dorm life, general classes, social/academic/work life balance, and background and home life.
Carrie: What type of things did you do together?
Jenny: We went to different club meetings, did self-care activities like painting and journaling, talked about our goals and wants/needs in life, and grabbed lunch/dinner together.
Carrie: What would you like students considering participating as a mentee to know about this program?
Jenny: I want students who are considering participating as a mentee to know that this program is very flexible and helps you feel like you belong here on campus! Mental health can be a scary topic, but the mentors do go through training and have resources to help you out.
Carrie: Why do you think this program is needed on college campuses?
Jenny: This program is needed on college campuses because college can be stressful and is a moment in life where you are dealing with a lot of change.
Carrie: From your perspective, is there anything else you think sponsors of P2P Mentoring should know about the program?
Jenny: The events hosted by P2P and Lost&Found are great ways for the mentors/mentees to bond with each other and has really helped with different ideas of self care activities to do!
For more information regarding the Lost&Found Peer2Peer Mentoring Program, you can visit: