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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Will To Live Foundation Incorporated

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Mental Health

Mission: 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 to recognize the love and hope that exists in each other. We accomplish this by: Raising Awareness of teen suicide in our community Increasing Education around mental illness and it's stigma Delivery Hope to teens everywhere

Results: As of 2018, the Will to Live Foundation has raised over $1,000,000 through events and fundraisers that have been organized by the kids themselves. In doing this, these kids form what we call "life teammate bonds" where they recognize the power of hope they have in each other. It's easier to talk to a friend and we teach them to do just that. Putting the money back into the community: To date, well over 1,000 schools have had the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program implemented through funding by the Will To Live Foundation. Over 1,000,000 students have been "reached" through this program as well as our Life Teammates activities and events since the foundation's inception in 2010.

Target demographics: Raise the awareness of teen suicide in our communities

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 1000 schools and over 1,000,000 teeenagers

Geographic areas served: Communities all over the country

Programs: Raising Awareness of Teen Suicide: Giving presentations to communities schools, families, churches, sports teams and others to raise the awareness of teen suicide in our communities and the fact that every 2 hours in America a teen takes their life - this needs to be talked about. Increasing Education around mental illness and it's stigma: Through education and awareness programs that work with professional organizations that help educate the communities of mental health issues and the fact that 1 in 6 of the teens in our lives suffer from depression or some other diagnosable mental illness that can lead to suicide. To Deliver Hope to teens everywhere through our LIFE TEAMMATES PROGRAMS AND SCHOLARSHIPS- that encourage the teens in our community to "talk about it" with each other - their friends and Life Teammates. Life is hard and sometime it takes a friends to help you navigate through the tough times.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My family has known John for more than twenty years, what he and his family do and has done is changing the world. John is not an employee doing his job, John is a literal angel in disguise who constantly goes out into the world to save lives.

Rachelle S.

Donor

Rating: 5

After being introduced to the Trautwein’s story, we became interested in Willstock, their annual music festival put on for teens by teens. My family traveled from NJ so my daughter could perform there. It is a great night for the kids and the money raised goes to suicide prevention. Awesome night!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Where do I begin? I began teaching H.S. English in 1994 and struggled with students sharing with me their stories and reasons of sadness. When John first spoke eight years ago at a church near our homes, I went as a parent and a teacher. I needed to be educated on what I can do to help and be a part of a growing awareness of mental illness and all the emotional & physical harms that accompany it. How do I help a student who can't rely on family? How do I approach a topic that I'm not legally allowed to discuss? How do I react when I notice someone is cutting?
The Will-to-Live Foundation has aided me and my community in talking about suicide - its truths, its myths. It's okay not to feel okay is a reality for all ages, especially now for teens who have so many pressures. Thank you, Trautwein Family, for all that you've done and all that you do.

1 Erin L.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Trautwein family and the Will To Live foundation spread a message of hope. Their loss is all too common, but by raising awareness, talking about mental health, and educating teens and families, there is hope that something can be done for those who live with depression or other mental health conditions. On a personal level, this organization (and family) have helped my family deal with the loss of a loved one to suicide.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have so much respect for this family and their strength! Who knows how many young lives they have saved with this foundation in Will’s name and the book,”My Living Will”. I have to believe Will is looking down with pride. Love ya, man!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband, son and I knew Will and loved him like one of our own.
We also love and support the beautiful and meaningful work that this Foundation does. It is a witness to the world how something purposeful can be born out of tragedy. It shows how God uses people in a magnificent way.
This Foundation has reached so many of our youth and families and we continue to support the work!
Love ya man!! ❤️

2 Tammy Rowe W.

Donor

Rating: 5

Where do I begin...I was introduced to The Will To Live Foundation several years ago while planning a charity golf tournament. Upon meeting John Trautwein and hearing the story of Will I was overcome by his strength, of how he turned such a tragic loss into such a wonderful foundation. I never had the pleasure of knowing his Will, I have however experienced his spirit, and the impact he had on so many in his short life. John and Susie and the Trautwein family have turned their loss into an avenue for others to find the encouragement they need to realize each of us have purpose and meaning, and that our lives matter. The foundation saying, "Love Ya Man" is three simple words Will shared with his friends, three words of encouragement that may very well have since saved many others.
To hear John tell his story of how the idea of Will To Live came to him is nothing less than a miracle.
I am certain The Will To Live has touched many, saved lives, reached hearts that may have been on the brink of giving up.
If ever a foundation deserves to be named as one, if not the number one nonprofit organization of 2018, The Will To Live certainly qualifies!
I can't begin to tell you how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to work with this amazing organization, my Life and many others has been forever changed by the strength and love shared, by their desire to turn what was an unbearable situation into something good, something that reached beyond their pain to provide an avenue for those who may be lost to realize that their lives matter, that each of us has value and purpose. Will's legacy will forever live, his light will forever shine through The Will To Live and the message they share.

2 Betsy Alton C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Will-to-Live Foundation started as a way to heal a family and has now become so much more. As I personally knew Will, the foundation represents all that he was and is truly a true and loving tribute to an amazing kid. He was a champion for the underdog and the foundation continues to reach out to all kids, showing them that anyone can be affected by depression. Giving kids an outlet to come together and share their stories with love and hope is what the events sponsored by the WTL foundation brings to our community. Every year we are amazed at the growth of these events. In partnering with local and national mental health organizations, the WTL foundation has been able to increase teen suicide awareness and deliver hope to teens everywhere!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This foundation is a ray of hope for those dealing with the complexities of mental illness. Their vision for life for those dealing with depression gives the community the support they so desperately need. Bringing awareness to teen suicide and erasing the stigma of depression is exactly what teens need to hear. So proud of what this amazing family has done...thru the kids, by the kids! Love ya man.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Suicide is a huge problem in our country and Will To Live Foundation is one of the only organizations dedicated to getting the message out to teens in our area. John's story of Life Teammates is a part of our local high schools and the message is purely positive for these kids. Our family has benefited directly from John and the Foundation and we support it 100% with our time and treasures.

2 Steve R.2

Donor

Rating: 5

5 Stars isn’t enough. The Trautwein’s have made such a huge impact in the entire community, not just Northview HS. The LYM mantra lives strong in my home keeping an open dialogue with my sons.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having worked with WTL and having attended several of their events, I can attest to the outstanding work they do in and for the community. All are incredibly well run and attended but more importantly, the spirit and the mision of the organization is palpable in everything they do. Their presence in the community is consistent and strong and all who come in contact w WTL can attest to how very special it is.

2 Sally K.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is one of the best, most important nonprofits out there. The Trautwein family gives everything they have to make sure other families don’t go through losing a child to mental illness/suicide.
The first time we heard John speak was 3 short months after my daughters fiancé took his own life. We were trying not to drown in our unspeakable loss and John threw us a lifeline. I will never forget when he spoke that evening; it seemed like he was speaking directly to our broken hearts.
Since then, I’ve been amazed at the good work being done by the Will to Live Foundation. Young people everywhere are blessed to have John on their side.