Palos Heights, IL, May 31, 2017– This past Saturday was one of the most moving foreverU experiences we have encountered. This new year, we re-branded as a youth empowerment organization that exists to reduce bullying, division, and student suffering. We were tired of surface level impact and desired to dig deeper into the problem. We had a vision to develop creative solutions that would actually help people get the support they need, as well as reach more youth than ever before. The student-led foreverU initiative that took place this past weekend was a beautiful example of our revamped mission in action.
Last Wednesday evening, we received a phone call from our student Ambassador at Lincoln-Way Central High School, Ethan Fazio, informing us that a 16-year-old high school student at Lincoln-Way Central High School, Josh Galvan, had taken his life. Within minutes, the decision was made that we would assist Ethan and his peers in leading a foreverU Initiative with the purpose of honoring and remembering Josh, bringing surrounding communities together, taking the proper steps to reduce the stigma of seeking help, and to remind one another of the value in who we are. The gathering took place on Saturday, May 27th at 3:00 PM at Main Park in Mokena, IL. At the gathering, we had nearly 100+ in attendance, heard a few words from local youth who were close with Josh, experienced a time of self-reflection, had professional help present for those who needed. Participants were presented with take-home resources if needed, and also provided other information on how to engage in the mission of foreverU.
On Josh's day, hope was received, love was spread, stories were shared, laughter was delivered, and his legacy remembered. There were four students on the list to share a few words at the gathering. However, one by one, others in attendance began to step forward to share what was on their heart. Courage was evident on this day, and a platform was provided for youth to have their voice heard. We are overcomers. We are valued. We have a part to play. We are stronger together. On this day, we learned the importance of not letting this world distract us from the story we are living, and that it is time for us to spread love like wild-fire.
We have been working directly with the family of Josh Galvan, providing any needed emotional support at this time. We have already begun crafting a local support group with the help of our medical and professional partners in the area to offer as a resource to affected youth. We also offered to cover the costs of every high school student in attendance at the gathering on Saturday to attend Camp Reset this July. We cannot sit back in times like these. It is about leaning forward with one another, providing youth with the opportunity to be part of something greater than themselves, and developing creative solutions that lead to long term impact.
Please purchase your shirt in remembrance of Josh Galvan at the following link:
Written By: Ryan Hesslau | Founder & Executive Director