In the world of just getting by, there is a made-up event known as Blue Monday.

Blue Monday is supposed to fall somewhere between January 16 and 24. It’s explained with a mathematical misery formula related to the weather and daylight in the northern hemisphere, property taxes and holiday bills, and I would add the day after your favorite professional football team is usually knocked out of the playoffs. It is an ageless mental trick to explain the woes students might feel while waiting for the school bus, the second semester, or sports tournament season and older people experience when we wish we could be waiting for the school bus, second semester, or one more chance to play basketball.

The blues, a sense of melancholy, or being down are real and universal. As I understand it, they are temporary human emotions. There are also real and clinically defined conditions such as depression and anxiety which are controlled in a medical sense. This is not a clinical definition, but if R.E.M songs on the radio cause to take a big gulp of air and swallow hard, it’s time to get some help.

The human condition and responsibility require me to now post the words “you are not alone.” If the subject matter gives you the gulps, please know people care and want you to feel better. If you recognize the gulp or something like it in your life, terms like people and feel better comes with your own definition.

A few DeForest area readers might recognize the name Ron Strobel. Ron and I were both chaperoning youth groups at a church camp in Crystal Falls, Mich., when I first heard a song called ‘You Are Not Alone.’ It was written by the performer’s dad. The man had a sore throat that weekend and as he gave a story about the song, it came with a few big gulps and a crackling voice from the stage.

I’m guessing an even smaller slice of DeForest remembers building a backyard garden with Pastor Strobel at an ordinary New Orleans home in July 2012. If you haven’t forgotten the forget-me-nots, it is indeed a small and interconnected planet. A reminder that you are not alone in this world.

As I write this, a few other memories of the 2012 gathering creep into my mind. Our travel plan south brought our buses into Memphis and Beale Street at lunch time. A couple of the older kids passed up the obvious draws to walk a few over to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel. A museum complex is built around the portion of the motel where an assassin’s bullet killed Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m glad to report the spirit in those kids seems alive in the current Badger Conference students. Students from each of those schools, including DeForest, are working together to lift up local and regional fundraising efforts in their communities. The DeForest students are promoting the United Way of Dane County with their cross-conference basketball games while United Ways and similar groups are benefitting from those 16 schools.

Check out their efforts this week. If the moment and finances allow, remind the kids they are not alone, and neither are the people served by those programs.