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The I.C.U. Project

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Caelan Fraschetti

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In October of 2017, the I.C.U. Project was launched by Xavier faculty Father Jack McGinnis, Greg Thielen, and Xavier alum, Patrick McCracken. The original I.C.U. groups, however, began at Xavier in 2013. Father Jack and Mrs. Van Schoyck, one of Xavier’s first counselors, formed two support groups after ten Xavier students shared at different times that they had thought of, or attempted, to end their own lives.

It all begins with finding yourself.

Inspired by the worldwide Positive Education movement, the I.C.U. Project seeks to teach young people about their personal strengths, as well as how to cope with emotions. This program is offered in the hope of helping young people find happiness, and realize how much they have to offer to the world.

The core of the program is the POSITIVIT formula, which includes identifying the stressful situation, get in touch with the emotions that arise from the situation, and practicing the POSITIVIT healing techniques. The POSITIVIT program includes a workbook to guide healing practices. Anyone can reap the positive outcomes of their healing process. If the first practice you try doesn’t help, keep trying! The workbook includes many strategies for different kinds of people, from body tapping to meditation.

Three things a day can make all the difference!

One of the simplest healing practices to begin is recalling three things for which you are grateful when you wake up in the morning. Both Father Jack and Mr. Thielen follow this practice, as well as the others found in the POSITIVIT workbook, on a daily basis. Father Jack says, “I have never, in my LONG life, experienced the positive mental and emotional effects in my personal life and the lives of others that these practices have brought.”

Father Jack’s song “Teddy Bear Hero,” known throughout the Xavier community, is the project’s theme song. With the rates of teen suicide rising every year, the song’s positive message is intended to encourage teens that life is worth living. Father Jack’s explanation of the song, as well as testimony from founding member and Xavier alumnus Patrick McCracken, can be found here: https://www.theicuproject.com/suicide.

The I.C.U. Team

The program was moved off-campus, as they found there were too many distractions in the classroom meeting space. The I.C.U. Project now meets at 74836 Technology Dr., Suite 108, which is behind the Starbucks up Cook Street–not too far from Xavier. The new site not only allows for a quiet environment, but it makes the students feel safe enough to open up. It can be difficult to be vulnerable in front of others, but Mr. Thielen believes that “…it is the most important thing you will do; it leads you to your truest self.” In sharing your thoughts, and hearing the thoughts of others, young people come to realize that they are not alone. The hardest feeling for anyone to grapple with is loneliness. Everyone needs a person or a group of people upon whom they can lean, and the I.C.U. Project was formed for just that purpose.

Dylan Davis. Photo credits to The I.C.U. Project.

Today, the program is generously funded by the family of Dylan Davis, a 17-year old who took his own life. Dylan was an artist, a musician, and a healer. He was an empath, sensitive to the suffering of others. This sensitivity made him vulnerable, and he was not able to find the support he needed before it was too late. His memory now serves as a life vest for the struggling and the lost to find that support.

If anyone is wrestling with depression or suicidal thoughts, the I.C.U. Project’s doors are always open. The program’s title is a double meaning, both in that they see you, and it references the initials of a hospital’s intensive care unit. In Father Jack’s words, this means “if you need some intensive, loving care, we are here for you.” No matter how far beyond help you may think you are, it is never too late to find happiness!

For more information, please see Father Jack or Mr. Thielen. They are available to talk one on one if the idea of a group is too intimidating. You can also read more about the program at https://www.theicuproject.com/.

 

Works Cited

McGinnis, Jack. Personal Interview. 30 May 2019.

Thielen, Greg. Personal Interview. 29 May 2019.

The ICU Project, www.theicuproject.com/.

 

 

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About the Writer
Caelan Fraschetti, Writer

I am a senior at Xavier this year. I enjoy ceramics and writing. My favorite place in the world is the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. I have two younger...

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