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Elkhart Council passes resolution supporting Rio’s Rainbow

Nicole Ball, Rio Allred's mother, speaks to the Elkhart County Council about Rio's Rainbow on Monday, April 4.
Screenshot captured via Facebook Live
Nicole Ball, Rio Allred's mother, speaks to the Elkhart County Council about Rio's Rainbow on Monday, April 4.

The Elkhart Common Council passed a resolution Monday night supporting Rio’s Rainbow, an anti-bullying organization formed after an Elkhart student took her own life last month.

Twelve-year-old Rio Allred died by suicide on March 14. Her family has said she was the victim of bullying after she developed alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss.

Her death led to a student walkout and calls for the school district to do more to address student bullying.

The seventh-grader’s family and friends also founded Rio’s Rainbow, a nonprofit dedicated to ending school bullying.

Rio’s mother, Nicole Ball, said she feels called to help other families who are struggling with bullying.

“I have heard so many awful stories about bullying in the last three weeks. I’m not tired of hearing these stories — I’m tired of people having these stories,” Ball said. “Rio’s Rainbow is our way of paying it forward for all of the love and support we have received, and to hopefully protect other families and other children from the pain that Rio felt.”

The council unanimously passed a resolution to support Rio’s Rainbow and other organizations “that address the prevention, intervention or elimination of bullying.”

“We as a council and as a city intend to support you in whatever way we can — and you can count on that,” Council President Arvis Dawson said.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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Gemma DiCarlo came to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.