A sea of blue t-shirts, local musicians, car lovers and community members gathered to remember teen suicide victim Drew Ferraro. The foundation fundraiser included hundreds of people who attended to support the Ferraro family and community.
Following Drew Ferraro's suicide at , Ferraro's parents John and Deana by students at CVHS.
The family began a foundation in his name, Drew's Voice, to prevent bullying in the community and start discussion about teen suicide. Locals were invited to stop by .
Classic car owners volunteered in an automobile show featuring a monster truck, motorcycle, Volkswagen Beetles and Mini Cooper, among other cars. Locals donated items for a silent auction, including childrens' clothing, candy, childrens' games, facial and spa offers, a bicycle trailer and boogie board.
By about 1 p.m. Sunday, the group had raised about $700 from locals bringing in cars to show and with donations, local Regina Booth told Patch. Volunteers brought in their cars and paid $25 to enter the show, which included a t-shirt and meal.
"I'm really happy about the money we've raised so far," Booth said. "People have just been so generous."
Booth, Todd Thornbury and Cindy Tanner helped to coordinate the classic car show and weenie Roast at Leo's All Star Sports Bar. Student and parent volunteers from Prom Plus roasted hot dogs and and distributed food for locals.
Grief counselors from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services were also at the celebration, offering information about the Glendale Center and local services.
Leslie Lesh, who owns Leo's All Star Sports bar with her husband Leo, provided the event venue and collected donations on behalf of the foundation.
"It's been amazing, it's been everything that I thought it was going to be. I knew that it was going to effect the community in a very large way and we just wanted to provide a place for people to come together, greive, donate, volunteer and deal with whatever, however [Drew's death] affected them," Lesh said.
Lesh estimated about 150 to 250 people were there at any given time, with many coming in and out of the fundraiser.
"I think it has a lot of mixed emotions for the community," Lesh said. "I think that with loss and death it's a very complex type of thing people deal with but i think the overall feeling, for us to have the event, it's been very positive."
The Lesh family hopes to continue supporting the Ferraro family, she said.
"Leo and I welcomed the opportunity because we knew how important it was and with having two smaller, little children we just know that having a foundation like Drew's Voice was going to benefit everybody, and that would include us [because] we have a family in this town," Lesh said.
Liza Morelli, owner of Bonner's Equipment Rentals in Tujunga, also helped out at the event.
"This was literally put together in two weeks and we knew we'd have a lot of people but with donations from the community and everyone's hard work it's been amazing," Morelli said.
The event is a positive thing for the community, she said.
"Leo's has absolutely sponsored this with their venue and coordination. They've been amazing," Morelli said.
Ferraro family members, CVHS students, parents and neighbors from the Crescenta Valley attended. Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) also came to the event.
"Having lost my brother last year to suicide and remembering his struggles in high school I just wanted to be there," Portantino said. "I saw so many people just supporting the family and the greater CV community it was a very positive experience for an excellent cause."
Sarah Ferraro, Drew's aunt, told Patch that the family appreciated the outpouring of support.
"I'm just overwhelmed by the amount of people who are coming to support our family," Sarah Ferraro said. "It's amazing how much of the community has come to support us and to support our foundation. It's unbelievable."
The main goal of the foundation is to educate people about the impacts of bullying, Ferraro said.
"We definitely want to just open peoples' eyes and get everyone fighting against bullying [through] prevention and awareness and mostly to just [use] kind words and nice gestures. To spread kind words," Sarah Ferraro said.
"It's important for our children to know that there are people out there that are nice and want to do nice things, so that's why we're here," Sarah Ferraro said.
Sarah Ferraro told Patch that the event felt like part of the healing process.
"I know it's helping me. It's definitely helping me because Drew was here on a mission here with God and now I know my mission which is to continue to make sure that his voice is heard and the schools really take more action and [have] more of a punishment when someone is being bullied," Sarah Ferraro said.
The family wants to emphasize what bullying can do to kids, she said.
"I don't know what the school does now, but it's important that we have the schools behind us and our coaches and teachers and principals and everybody really aware of what the childre and what everyone's doing around them," Sarah Ferraro said.
Sarah Ferraro thought her nephew would have liked the event if he were there Sunday.
"I think he would be happy because he wanted to help kids. I think he would be saying, 'Right on, exactly what I wanted to do,'" Sarah Ferraro said.
The family plans to launch a website for the Drew's Voice foundation at www.drewsvoice.com, Sarah Ferraro said. Anyone who wants to support the foundation can donate money, purchase a Drew's Voice t-shirt or bracelet. To learn more, email Sarah Ferraro at email@example.com.