What The Will To Live Foundation Is All About!
Founded in October 2010 as a 501(c)(3) public charity – based in Johns Creek, GA
- “We are dedicated to preventing teen suicide by improving the lives and the ‘will to live’ of teenagers everywhere through education about mental health and encouraging them ot recognize the love and hope that exists in each other”
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 via our Life Teammates concept and program
Watch Will to Live Co-Founder, John Trautwein’s personal account of how the Will To Live Foundation was formed afterthe 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
With the help of so many Life Teammates – as of April 1st, 2017 we:
- Have now raised over $1,000,000- through
- Fun, kid organized events, activities and fundraisers such as WILLSTOCK and the WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE’S A WAY 5K
- Generous donations from our friends and Life Teammates from all over the world
- Grant from wonderful corporate supporter such as – State Farm, The Ripken Foundation, Catch 25 Foundation, Source Support Services, The Stratton Foundation and so many more nation-wide
- Have funded the acclaimed Signs of Suicide (SOS) program for well over 2,000 high schools and middle schools across the country. Including every public school in Fulton County (Atlanta, GA). We are educating the educators and positively effecting well over one million high school and college students around the country as a result.
Through our programs and initiatives – we:
- Have handed out over 30,000 Life Teammate – Love Ya Man wristbands and stickers to kids, schools, teams and families across America – and around the world.
- Have awarded over 100 “Life Teammates Scholarships” to high school seniors, voted on by their peers.
- Have been honored as recipients for the PRESIDENTIAL POINT OF LIGHT AWARD, as well as recognized by CNN, CBS, Fox sports, The Big Ten Network, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune and many other media outlets around the country.
- Have given over 500 speeches and presentations to kids, teams, colleges, high schools, parents , coaches, teachers, youth groups and churches of all denominations. Spreading our Life Teammates message of recognizing and loving your friends on and off the field.
- Our LIFE TEAMMATES program has sponsored TEAM WILL TO LIVE lacrosse, TEAM WILL TO LIVE baseball, soccer teams and tournaments in Atlanta, Chicago, NY, New Hampshire and Philadelphia.
- We have implemented “Club Will To Live” clubs in over 15 schools in the greater Atlanta area
- Have created a WILL TO LIVE FACEBOOK GROUP with over 2900 members by mid year 2017.
- Have a website that now attracts over 100,000 visitors a month – giving people information on where to go for help. hope, counselling, education, love, support and an increased Will To Live.
- Have helped thousands of kids fulfill volunteer hours for various honor societies, school credits and college applications.
- Have been honored to be a part of something special.
- Updated April 2017
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)
|To 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|