High school club supports community through love and hope

There is a club at Lambert High School in Suwanee that focuses on its students working together on community service projects. But, its mission is bigger than that.

“We want to bring awareness that teenage suicide can be prevented and our own lives could be improved by helping others,” said Riley Patrick, founding president of Club Will to Live and a senior at Lambert High School.

Club Will To Live supports the message of the Will to Live Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2010 by John Trautwein after losing his son, Will, to suicide. The nonprofit aims to raise awareness of teen suicide, increase education around mental illnesses and their stigmas and deliver hope to teens everywhere via its Life Teammates program.

Through the high school, the club takes on service projects each quarter for the local community. The club collected 250 coats through its coat collection in late winter, held a pajama movie night and collected 100 pajamas and raised money for The Place of Forsyth County, received more than 300 bags for the Forsyth Foster Care Program and more. For the winter and the holidays, the club will be hosting a toy drive.

For Patrick, the club also seeks to provide love and hope.

“Over the last few years, we have lost students to suicide. Each time a classmate took their life, it left a hole in our hearts,” she said. “It is important to me to make sure that each kid understands their self worth and the situations are only temporary. I feel we can make a difference by reaching out and showing support to our classmates and the community.”

The Will to Live Foundation has implemented Club Will To Live clubs in over 15 schools in the greater Atlanta area. Additionally, the foundation provides people information for help, hope, counseling, education, love, support and an increased “will to live.” It also supports kids to fulfill volunteer hours and has provided scholarships to high school seniors.

The community at large can support the high school club’s efforts by helping with its collection drives for The Place. Additionally, people can also participate in the Will to Live Foundation’s 5K Fun Run For Hope taking place on Feb. 3, 2018.

Jennifer Daniel, student support coordinator at Lambert High School and advisor to its Club Will to Live, shared, “It warms my heart to see this generation giving back, reaching out, and acting on a need that they see in their community. I hope it encourages other young people to reach out to their local service organizations and ask what they need. Then, put that need into a plan and act. It really does just take a few people to put a plan into action to make a big difference.”

In other news

The Atlanta Apartment Association’s Annual Food-A-Thon, one of the nation’s largest food drives, raised enough food items and money this year to provide 7.3 million meals to hungry families in metro Atlanta and north Georgia. Now in its 30th year, AAA celebrates its longstanding partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the donations gathered over the years providing over 100 million meals for the hungry.

BB&T’s Peachtree City branch volunteered at Christian City Children’s Village and donated five new desktop computers through the bank’s “Lighthouse Project.” The group also volunteered their time and effort at Christian City, helping with several different projects across the 500-acre campus. The organization, located between Fairburn and Fayetteville, cares for victims of child abuse and abandonment. The children now live safely in family-style homes with full-time house parents on the 500-acre campus. The program’s positive impact is demonstrated by a 100% high school graduation rate.

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Who’s doing good?Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at doing.goodAJC@gmail.com