How it all Started....

The Yellow Ribbon program was founded in 1994 by the parents and friends of a bright, funny, loving teen, Mike Emme, who took his life when he did not know the words to say, or how to let someone know he was in trouble and needed help.  Mike's mom talked about creating mementos that others could have to remember him with, and she decided that yellow would be used in honor of the cherished yellow mustang.   In response to teens asking what can we do?, - she told them, 'don't do this, don't attempt suicide'. 'If you are ever at this point of despair., please ask for help'!   Kids took notes! Cards were made with the message to reach out for help, that It's OK to Ask4Help!

On the night before Mike's memorial services, his friends shared their grief and their tears as they pinned ribbons on the cards. Five hundred ribbon cards were placed in a basket and set out at his services. All the ribbon cards were gone at the end of the services!

Three weeks - just three weeks! - after Mike's services, a phone call came from a teacher in Wyoming. A student had given her one of those bright yellow messages of hope when the student was at a time of her own need. The teacher called because she wanted to get help for teens in her area.Other calls began to come in from throughout the U.S. - teens were sending those cards to everyone! Teens also began to call and write, asking for 'those yellow ribbon cards The ripple effect had begun!

yellow cards

If you ever feel like you need someone to talk to, hand them this card. They will listen. If you are ever handed this card, please follow the instruction on the back of the card. You could save that person's life.  Click here to download the card.

why yellow?

Mike Emme and his father, Dale, rescued and restored a 1968 Ford Mustang. It was painted bright yellow. Yellow remains to be the color to represent the Yellow Ribbon Program.

how can i help?

There are many ways that you can help make our Open Arms Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program a success. For more information, please visit our donate page.

I would like you to visit my child's school-how can i make this happen?

We are actively trying to do presentations in many schools in the Minnesota area. However, it has been difficult. Most schools tend
to think that by talking about suicide, we will be making suicide happen. This is the complete opposite of the truth. We would love to come present in your child's school. In order to do this, please e-mail or call your school superintendent, principal or guidance council teacher and mention that you would like this to happen. The more parents we have on board, the more likely that we will be welcome. We very much appreciate all of your support in this matter.  Contact us today.

.Jacob Robert Sikel

Feb 25, 1997

July 30, 2012

Open Arms Yellow Ribbon  Program

Open Arms Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program

started like many other yellow ribbon programs around the country with the loss of a loved one.

July 30, 2012, we lost Jacob Robert Sikel (age 15) to suicide. He was an incredible young man with a bright future whose life was lost far too early. Two days after we lost Jacob, his dad, Robert, and Aunt Darcy, were sitting at the table when Darcy asked him, "what can I do to help you?"

Robert's answer was one similar to many other families that have experienced this type of loss: "I don't know, but I do know I never want another family to go through this." The ball began rolling with a simple Google search on suicide prevention; from there, the family sat down and talked as a group and decided the Yellow Ribbon Program was the best fit. The message was simple: "It's OK to ask for help!"


In October 2012, Robert & Brenda (Jacob's dad & step-mom), Angela & Jeff (Jacob's mom & step-dad), Darcy (Jacob's aunt), drove to Westminster, CO., and completed the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention training program and returned to MN and began speaking in schools, communities, churches, and getting the words "it's OK to ask for help!" out anywhere and everywhere.

The full name of the program "Open Arms Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program" was established so that every person anywhere could understand we are trying to prevent suicide to anyone and have open arms to them. Suicide knows no age, race, gender, and has no boundaries, so neither do we. Open Arms Yellow Ribbon Program is an established 501 C-3 non-profit organization.

Our history

Let’s put an end to suicide!