‘The Breakfast Club’: High school students gather to heal after losing friend to suicide

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A weekly tradition for a group of Cherry Creek High School students started from a really tough situation and has now blossomed into something they all look forward to.

Every Saturday morning you'll find five to 15 teenagers at the Barker house in Centennial.

“We have a big turnout today, this is great,” Gregg Barker said.

Gregg makes french toast with all the fixings. Then all the girls huddle around a table outside to eat.

The breakfast keep them all together and keeps things upbeat. It's a breakfast that was there when their hearts were broken.

When one of the group's friends died by suicide in March, Gregg, Riley Barker's dad, stepped in and did what dads do best.

"It was such a hard thing and no one knew how to get through it," Riley, who lost her friend, said. “My dad was like just invited them all over for breakfast, so we did, and it turned into this huge thing and its been like the most wonderful thing we could’ve had.”

The Breakfast Club tradition was born after that. They started in March, took a break for summer, and then started back for the school year, and so far have spent 14 Saturdays together.

The breakfast lasts about an hour. Gregg makes french toasts and then reads an inspiring message. The girls then eat their food and enjoy each others company.

“The message for the day is, the little things make the biggest difference," Gregg said.

“If you have a terrible week you know that there’s like a light at the end of the tunnel and that’s going to breakfast on Saturday," Riley said. “I’m honestly so lucky to get a dad like that and have a dad like that”

Anyone is invited to the Breakfast Club they don't want anyone to feel left out. It's their way of spreading a little more kindness.

“[From] that great loss came great hope and it started here," Riley said.

The girls are seniors in high school this year. For now, they'll continue the tradition through the school year and figure out a way to keep it going as they go on after that.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). It’s a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within the tri-state area and the nation.

Depression and suicidal thoughts are often exhibited in many ways. Warning signs for suicide can include, but are not limited to, talking about wanting to die; conveying feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or being a burden; and displaying extreme moods.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention advises that you do not leave the person alone, call a prevention hotline, and take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

For more information on suicide prevention, including additional resources and warning signs, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website.

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