COLUMBUS, Neb. – Lean On Foundation hosted its annual volleyball and cornhole tournament on Saturday, aiming to help raise awareness about mental health.

The tournaments are held in memory of Cooper Prorok, who died by suicide in 2020 at the age of 15.

His father, Jason Prorok, organizes the event with Lean On Foundation to give back to the community and encourage people to reach out about mental health.

“We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it,” Prorok said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to open up. The more we come in tune with it…the better.”

Among those in attendance was Cami Oelsligle, the counselor at Humphrey Public Schools.

Recently named the 2024 Nebraska Counselor of the Year, Oelsligle has a close relationship with mental health and emphasizes the importance of kids seeking help if they feel alone.

“They’re going through things. They don’t understand what anxiety is and they don’t understand why their heart accelerates for no reason. Kids are starting to talk more about things that are going on than they used to. There was a stigma like, ‘Don’t talk about it. Just toughen up.’ Now it’s kind of changed,” Oelsligle said.

Proceeds from the event go towards the Good Confidant Scholarship, which awards $1,000 to one senior each year.

Abi Schneider, a recipient of the scholarship, shared her own struggles with mental health during high school.

“I know seeking out help from your parents can sometimes be nerve-wracking. Just seeking out help from others was definitely my way of solving my mental health issues,” Schneider said.

The Lean On Foundation also sponsors an Out of Darkness Walk set for September in Columbus.