'To Save A Life' Week Kicks Off to Help Hurting Teens

The creators of faith-based film "To Save A Life" launched on Monday a weeklong campaign aimed at touching one million lives.

Corresponding with National Suicide Prevention Week and the start of a new school year, To Save A Life Week encourages teens and churches to use the film to save lives and engage with the hurting and the lonely in their communities.

"How far would you go to save a life?" campaign organizers ask. "The inspirational film ... tells the story of the difference one person can make when they use their influence and time for others."

"To Save A Life" opened on the big screen in January and has become the No. 1 faith-based film of 2010. It has been shown in almost 1,000 theaters in the U.S., Canada and South Africa and was the No. 1 fan-rated movie on Fandango for six weeks.

Ted Baehr of Movieguide.org has called the film "one of the best-made movies ever, Christian or secular. It's that good."

The indie movie tells the story of high school star basketball player Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne), who crumbles under pressure after the suicide death of his childhood friend, who he ditched three years ago for popularity.

His former best friend had shot himself on campus after experiencing years of neglect from everyone at his school. Wrenched with guilt and regret, Taylor begins wrestling with life questions and searches for answers in places he never expected, including church.

"To Save A Life" was written by Southern California youth pastor Jim Britts, who dealt with a lot of hurting teens in his youth group. Britts teamed up with Outreach, Inc., to depict the reality faced by many teens today.

Suicide, peer pressure, teen pregnancy and abortion are just some of the issues tackled in the film.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people (ages 15-19 and 15-24) in 2007. While suicides accounted for 1.4 percent of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprised 12.2 percent of all deaths among 15-24-year-olds.

This week, churches, families, pastors, teachers, coaches, mentors and teens are being encouraged to invite their friends to watch "To Save A Life." Campaign organizers are hoping to have the film shown in over 10,000 locations.

Participants are then being challenged to make an impact by starting a "Lunch Club" to help befriend lonely students on campus, as depicted in the film, and to start actively inviting new people to youth group or club meetings.

"To Save A Life," rated PG-13, was released on DVD and Blu-ray last month through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Affirm Films.

To Save A Life Week ends Sept. 12.

On the Web: http://www.ToSaveALifeLeaders.com/tsalweek/