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This is the message that Samantha’s parents want people to remember after the tragedy of their daughter’s untimely death.
Samantha was a creative and talented girl who loved writing poetry, short stories, and music. She was 14 years old and a freshman honors student at a local high school. She had a loving family and loved spending time with them outdoors. Simply put, she was a person who loved unconditionally.
But Samantha hid her other emotions. She suffered from anxiety and depression, which were worsened by the bullying she dealt with at school. In the fall of 2018, she took her own life. Her family was devastated and struggled with how to process her loss.
Eventually, her parents realized they needed to move on from grief and unhappiness and try to find a way to honor their daughter’s life while helping to do something positive for others, especially when it came to dealing with bullying. They decided to embrace the essence of Samantha’s life and began spreading a message of “Choose Love” throughout the community.
Additionally, they have created a scholarship fund for students interested in pursuing a degree in the fields of Samantha’s passions – music, creative writing, art, or theatre. Her parents are also creating a fund to provide mini-grants to local school districts for campaigns that support anti-bullying programs, and campaigns that raise awareness for mental illness and anxiety.
Strive for a Better Tomorrow hosts “Samantha Speaks Words of Life,” an anti-bullying/anti-suicide program at The Strive and Thrive Center of Hope in Donora. This program not only keeps the memory of Samantha’s spirit alive, but it also helps gives hope to others who have been suffering in silence.
And, it helps to educate those who may not be aware of the impact their words and actions can have on others.
“Samantha Speaks” is working to make a difference today, so that there will be a better tomorrow.