About Will To Live

A Foundation For The Kids, Through The Kids, By The Kids!

Will To Live is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity founded in October 2010, by the family and friends of Will Trautwein. Will To Live is based in Johns Creek, GA

Our Vision:   

To be a positive & motivational resource for teens, young adults, and their families, in the global fight against teen suicide, depression and the stigma surrounding mental illness in our communities.

Together we are creating a culture where it is simply

“OK to not be OK” 


Our Mission:  

“We are dedicated to raising the awareness of teen suicide and mental illness in our communities. Through education, motivation, fellowship and most importantly love, we will motivate these young adults to recognize the power they have to deliver hope and understanding to each other – increasing their own Will To Live in doing so.”

Our Strategy: To achieve our mission by focusing on:

RAISING AWARENESS – of teen suicide in our communities

INCREASING EDUCATION – around mental illnesses and their stigmas

DELIVERING HOPE – to teens everywhere 

Watch Will to Live Co-Founder, John Trautwein’s personal account of how the Will To Live Foundation was formed after the suicide death of his son Will.



“At my son’s funeral, when I saw the love and support from my own “high school” friends, I realized right then what this foundation would be about. We would work hard to get the teens and young adults of our communities to realize that the greatest friends that we meet in our lives, are those that we “learn about life with.”   Those that we experience our ‘firsts’ with.  Those friends that we meet as teenagers – let’s understand that – let’s recognize that – let’s rejoice in that – and let’s use that fact to always reach out to each other and not be afraid to say “I love you man” and equally and perhaps even more importantly – to not be afraid to say “Hey Man, I’m hurting”  

– John Trautwein – WTL Life Teammates Gala – June 2011



A Family’s Original Vision of Hope –  December, 2010

In a nutshell… we want the foundation to be for, through and by the kids. We are often hearing: “parents talk to kids, coaches talk to kids, teachers, counselors and experts talk to kids.” In addition to these necessary forms of education for young adults everywhere, we want this foundation to encourage and incorporate KIDS TALKING TO KIDS!

We’ve spent our whole lives as TEAMMATES in one way or another. We believe the best relationships of our lives, the most help, the best advice and the closest friends – our “life friends” – they were our TEAMMATES (any kind of team, not just sports teams!) – and most of these “Life Teammates”  WE MET DURING OUR TEENAGE YEARS!  The teens of today have already met some of the greatest friends that they’ll ever have, and we wanted to create a foundation that helped these kids take advantage of this fact!

Our children agree that a compliment from a teammate means more than a compliment from a coach. In the same way, we believe that help and support from a friend may just be the most effective way to ensure our kids find that “Will To Live” – that will to fight through the difficult times, because they know they are not alone!

We want the kids to help each other find the good that does indeed exist even during life’s most difficult trials. We believe and we have been shown over and over again, that even in life’s darkest moments that there is good and love and no-one can help a young adult find “the good” better than a close friend .

Who are our “Life Teammates?” – that is the question we want the kids to be asking themselves and each other!

Kids need each other and they need not be afraid to show their love for each other!

Quite Simply – this community, your community, can not stand any more empty rooms! Help us help our kids find the Will To Live and prevent Teen Suicide together!

Love to all – John and Susie Trautwein (Dec 2010)

The Trautwein family in April 2010. The face of teen suicide in America


Learn more about the Trautwein story and the birth of the Will To Live Foundation- purchase your copy of John’s memoir, “MY LIVING WILL” on-line here

Over 12,000 books have been sold and now 100% of the proceeds go to the Will To Live Foundation

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