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A Framingham teen helps those battling depression

Jessica Kruger worked on tonight’s House of Blues 16-plus party for Samaritans Inc.

HELPING OTHERS: When Framingham teen Jessica Kruger was in the seventh grade, she remembers wondering whether other students felt as sad as she did. By the time she reached high school, she was experiencing depressive and panic episodes for which she ultimately sought help.

“It started hindering my ability to do my schoolwork. I was sleeping a lot, withdrawing from activities. All the things you learn about in health class really are true,’’ said Kruger, a junior this year at Framingham High School.

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“I let myself be open to the fact that it’s OK to have emotions you don’t know how to deal with, and it’s not your fault,’’ she added. “I knew I should be happy, that I deserved to be happy.’’

Kruger had a supportive network of family members, friends, and teachers assisting her to get the help she needed. Now, she is focused on helping those who aren’t as fortunate.

Kruger volunteers twice a week answering the crisis line at Samaritans Inc., a regional suicide prevention and support organization. She also plans to be involved with IM Hear_, an online pilot program aimed at and run by teens at Framingham High School that is on track to begin this month.

While the issues facing callers to the Samaritans crisis line vary widely, Kruger said, they commonly include relationships, sexual orientation, substance abuse and addiction, bereavement, physical or mental illness, disabilities, and past abuse.

Regardless of the nature of their struggle, Kruger said, she has one message for all callers: “Every single Samaritan cares about you.’’

Kruger is a committee member for Make Noise 3, a Samaritans fund-raising party taking place tonight from 7 to 11 at the House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St. in Boston.

The event, for ages 16 and older, will feature DJ Joe Bermudez joined by Davis Ballard. For ticket information, visit www.makenoisetosavealife.org.

HEARING PROTECTION: The Newton Free Library is collaborating with Hear@Boston, a chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America, to share research findings on noise-induced and age-related hearing loss and their long-term ramifications.

Bedford resident Sharon Kujawa, an associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School and director of the audiology department at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, will be the featured speaker at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Druker Auditorium at the library, 330 Homer St. in Newton Center.

In her presentation, “Evidence of a Misspent Youth: Noise Exposure Ages Ears,’’ Kujawa will discuss the importance of protecting your hearing. According to the Better Hearing Institute, some 34 million Americans suffer from hearing loss.

In addition, according to Kujawa, research shows that exposure to loud sounds can cause ongoing degeneration of the cochlear nerve long after the noise has stopped.

“Noise-induced and age-related hearing losses are very common, they are permanent, and they compromise quality of life,’’ said Kujawa, noting that there are currently no medical or surgical therapies for noise-induced hearing loss.

For more information, call the library at 617-796-1360 or visit its website, www.newtonfreelibrary.net.

GLOBAL WARMING: Lexington resident Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be the featured speaker at the next Walden Forum, taking place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the First Parish in Wayland’s historic meetinghouse, at Routes 20 and 27.

In his presentation, “A Sober Look at the Global Warming Problem,’’ Emanuel will describe the history of climate science, climate change that is man-made versus natural, and the effect of extreme weather conditions on global stability. An increase in droughts and floods, for example, may spur conflicts by sending refugees across international boundaries.

“I hope people come away with a better appreciation for the scientific evidence of how the climate system works, and the various ways in which people get information about climate risks can be subject to distortion,’’ he said.

Emanuel, who has been on the MIT faculty since 1981, has written and contributed to more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and two books: “Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes,’’ and “What We Know About Climate Change.’’ He is director of the atmospheres, oceans, and climate program in MIT’s earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences department.

The Walden Forum is a series of free public lectures on topical issues. For more information, e-mail info@waldenforum.org or visit www.waldenforum.org.

SERVICE TO SCHOOL: Barbara Shoolman was recently honored for 43 years of service to the Brimmer and May School.

Shoolman, who retired in June, was Brimmer and May’s first learning specialist, and most recently served as its director of admissions.

The coeducational, independent day school on Middlesex Road in Chestnut Hill has nearly 400 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade.

DOLLARS FOR SCHOLARS: Local youths were among 440 scholarship recipients who were honored during the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s inaugural Legacy of Giving luncheon.

UMass Lowell students invited to the event, which gave donors and recipients a chance to meet, included two Arlington residents, graduate student Jillian Reilly and senior Bobby Chasse; grad student Danielle Dombrowski and senior Khalid Kanane of Bedford; Franklin senior Paul Geromini; two Groton residents, senior Meera Alanoly and junior Erin Keaney; junior Steven Bowen of Littleton; senior Hoi Chan of Newton; and junior Colby Aminti of Pepperell, the school announced.

UMass Lowell students were awarded nearly $825,000 through endowed scholarships during the last academic year.

MEETING CHALLENGE: The MetroWest Jewish Day School of Framingham was recently presented with a $25,000 Challenge Award from the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education for increasing revenue through new and creative programs.

The school’s “Apple Promotion,’’ for example, was a social media initiative that engaged hundreds of families throughout MetroWest and Greater Worcester during Rosh Hashanah.

In all, 27 day schools out of 127 applicants throughout the United States and Canada received $625,000 in Challenge Awards last year, and 24 schools received honorable mentions.

The applicants are being honored today at this year’s North American Jewish Day School Conference in Atlanta.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cantrell@ globe.com.
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