The Pinckney High School Class of 1998 has decided to turn part of its 20-year reunion into a fundraiser for The Youth Connection Services program in Howell in remembrance and celebration of the life of one of its members, Rachel Campbell, who lost her battle with cancer on Feb. 6, 2010.
Campbell, a juvenile probation officer in Livingston County, helped found The Youth Connection Services in Howell, which provides ‘round-the-clock support for young people 11-21 who are in crisis. It also provides support for their families.
Angela Sittaro, a member of the PHS Class of 1998, lives in Turin, Italy, and can’t make it back to the U.S. for the reunion. But she wanted to do something to give back to the youth in the community, so she organized a GoFundMe campaign for The Youth Connection Services.
“I’m primarily a teacher,” Sittaro said. “I love to listen to my students’ unique points of view. The things they encounter are no joke, and they need a committed, loving support system to accomplish their goals. I didn’t have that, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I really want to try to turn some negative life experiences from my youth into a possible lifeline for kids today.”
Sittaro said the Connection Youth Services is a place young people can turn to for help 24/7.
“The value of a listening ear that has the capacity to curb potential destructive future actions is priceless, for the person calling, for that person’s family and friends, and for the community at large,” Sittaro said. “Destructive behaviors have a ripple effect, and that’s important for people to realize.”
Sittaro said that while the community witnessed multiple suicides during her high school years, school shootings weren’t something anyone worried about.
“We never feared a fellow student would so irrevocably turn on their own,” she said. “But this is an actual fear today, and it wrenches my gut. It might also prove to be the one thing that keeps me rooted in Italy, so I don’t worry about this monstrosity occurring while my daughter attends school.”
And you don’t have to be a member of the Pinckney High School Class of 1998 to participate.
For more information on the GoFundMe effort, click here.
While GoFundMe requires an amount to be set as a goal, the goal is whatever we’re willing and able to contribute. These teens are in need of things like notebooks and toothbrushes, so “no donation is too small,” Sittaro said.
The Connection Youth Services is a branch of The Livingston Family Center in Pinckney, and is primarily funded by state and federal grants. All services are free, confidential, and voluntary.
Additional information about The Connection Youth Services and The Livingston Family Center, as well as lists of donatable items can be found by clicking here. We will be collecting donations until Sept. 22, 2018.