The Ryan Bartel Foundation

The+Ryan+Bartel+Foundation

Written by Kirsten Hein and Jack Klimek, The Woodgrove Outlander

The Ryan Bartel Foundation’s mission is to help prevent youth suicide by empowering teens and young adults to help each other and by building a community of support and resources.

Woodgrove senior Ryan Bartel took his life on October 15, 2014, stunning the Western Loudoun community. In response to Ryan’s death, his parents, Suzie and Ben Bartel, founded the Ryan Bartel Foundation on Ryan’s belief that “everyone deserves acceptance, and we need to provide resources and hope for youth who struggle with self-esteem and motivation to live.”

Even though Ryan was loved and respected by his family and his diverse groups of friends, he still struggled with low self-esteem.

“Growing up, Ryan generally felt like he didn’t fit in. Like many other kids, he was bullied. These experiences led him to believe that no one should be labeled or judged at face value,” said Suzie Bartel.

“He thought that everyone was unique and deserved respect. In Ryan’s last few years, he spent his time reaching out to those who felt different or were going through personal struggles like himself.”

To help raise awareness for youth suicide, the Ryan Bartel Foundation holds a benefit concert, ‘Rock for Ryan,’ every year on the weekend of Ryan’s birthday, January 16. The proceeds of the concert will help fund an educational program that starts with elementary school students and will soon expand to middle and high school students.

Additionally, the foundation offers a scholarship for students who embody the principle beliefs that Ryan held dear. The Foundation is built around Ryan’s personal mantra, “In the end, we’re all human.”

According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death in ages 10-14 and the second in ages 15-34. A study in 2013 found that 17% of students in grades 9-12 considered suicide during the previous 12 months and 8% actually attempted it.

Many of these tragic stories entail depression and feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. Ryan’s parents feel as though they owe it to him to do whatever they can to try and prevent others from going through the same pain. Suzie and Ben Bartel’s goal is “to create something positive out of his unimaginable tragedy.”
To learn more about the Ryan Bartel Foundation, visit the website at ryanbartelfoundation.org/ or on Facebook, facebook.com/Ryanbartelfoundation.

 

Bartel Foundation Scholarship
-$1000 for Woodgrove seniors who have been nominated by a Woodgrove student or staff member.
-Nominees should demonstrate unconditional support and comfort for students in need and should stand against any form of bullying.
-Scholarship will be presented by one of Ryan’s parents. The recipient will have his/her name on a plaque in the entry hallway.
-To nominate a student, forms can be found online in the Scholarship Application Tab on the Career Center Page. Nomination forms are due to the Woodgrove Career Center by April 30th, 2016