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This family teaches other families about how to spot signs of suicide

Dylan Schopp’s family — Debbie Schopp, David Schopp and Dara Schopp — are the drive behind the Dylan Schopp Sunshine Foundation Inaugural Sunshine Bruncheon. The event raised $36,000 for suicide prevention and awareness programs.
Dylan Schopp’s family — Debbie Schopp, David Schopp and Dara Schopp — are the drive behind the Dylan Schopp Sunshine Foundation Inaugural Sunshine Bruncheon. The event raised $36,000 for suicide prevention and awareness programs.

Almost every day we learn of the heartbreak of a family losing a loved one to suicide. Many times there is not a clue or a cry for help.

Atypical depression, what some now call “smiling depression,” is one of the most difficult illnesses to diagnose. It is important to know the symptoms, and understand that just because someone seems happy doesn’t mean they are.

The Dylan Schopp Sunshine Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention and awareness. At its first Sunshine Bruncheon, the group raised $36,000. More than 150 guests were in attendance.

“Every year, the support we gain from the community grows beyond what we could have imagined,” said Foundation director Debbie Schopp. “This year’s format allowed us to reach an even broader audience and continue to spread awareness about the resources available and techniques we can all learn to recognize the signs that someone might need help.

“If we impacted the life of even just one person, we can truly say it was a success,’’ she noted.

Jessica Leon of Therapist To Go was the keynote speaker.

With suicide as Florida’s ninth-leading cause of death, and the second-leading cause among college students, the Schopp family’s mission is “to stop suicide, work with mental health advocates, and provide support to those, who like them, have lost loved ones to suicide.”

The Foundation is partners with Weston-based Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention. The groups work together to prevent suicide and end the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

In addition to Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention, The Dylan Schopp Sunshine Foundation also supports America’s VetDogs, Operation Smile, The Humane Society, and Wounded Warriors.

Dylan Schopp’s family wants to make everyone aware of the Sunshine Foundation and its goals with the purpose “to celebrate Dylan’s life and help his spirit and energy live on, in hopes of preventing similar tragedies.”

Music Scholarships Concert

Come out and listen to some of Miami’s most talented young musicians perform and receive scholarships at the Homestead Community Concerts Music Scholarship Showcase, 6 p.m., Sunday, May 19, at the Seminole Theatre, 18 N. Krome Ave.

“Our first prize winner, Jack Kessler, and recipient of the Carmen Seepersad Memorial Scholarship, was just accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Curtis is the No. 1 ranked music school in America and possibly the world,” said Tony Seepersad, HCC Scholarship Chair. “Some of the other winners have already given performances at Carnegie Hall and have competed in international festivals.

“The level is quite high, to say the least, and four out of our five winners are only in eighth grade,” he said. “It’s very exciting to see these kids blossoming at such an early age and to be part of their journey.”

In addition to Jack, who plays viola and won the top $500 scholarship, the winners include: Ian Barnett (violin) who won the second place $400 Ronald, John, William Chiapetta Memorial Scholarship; and Matheus Ramos (piano) who won third place and the $300 Leichner Family Celebration of Music Scholarship. The Honorable Mention recipients include: Isabela Diaz (violin) who won the $200 Tony Seepersad Chairman’s Scholarship, and Javier Hernandez (cello) who won the $200 Lois Burgay Memorial Scholarship.

Tickets are $10 general admission for adults and $5 for students. Call the box office 786-650-2073 or purchase tickets at

Seeking Miami Vocalists

Grammy and Academy Award winner Phil Collins is on track to offer singing lessons and mentorship to talented Miami vocalists through the Miami-based Orianne and Phil Collins’ Little Dreams Foundation.

The Foundation works to help disadvantaged children from ages 6-17 with a passion for music, art or sports. Aspiring singers can apply by submitting a one-minute video recording of an audition song to by 5 p.m. at July 1.

To be eligible, potential “Dreamers” must be between the ages of 6-17, be based in Miami and currently enrolled in school, and have a household income of $30,000 or less.

Top talent will be chosen as finalists and notified of an in-person audition date with a grand jury that includes Collins. Those selected will receive weekly music lessons and coaching by industry professionals as well as live performance opportunities.

Learn more at

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