What would you do if your child's life was tragically cut short as a victim of unnecessary violence?
This was the situation faced by parents Nat Cook and Neil Davis on May 4th 2008. Their seventeen year old son, Sam Davis, was a keen sportsman and on that day kicked five goals for the South Adelaide Football Club's Under 19 side. It was later that night at a party with friends when he was approached by an argumentative and uninvited guest who delivered the fatal punch to the back of Sam's head that would, not only ruin a joyous occasion but, end a young man's life.
Sam Davis 10/09/1990-04/05/2008. Image courtesy of Sammy D Foundation
In an effort to save others from the same fate, his parents decided to use Sam's story to help protect and empower our youth. And so his legacy lives on with the Sammy D Foundation.
The foundation aims to support and provide young people with the skills and confidence to avoid potentially dangerous situations and respond appropriately should they be faced with one. The Sammy D Foundation achieves this by promoting healthy lifestyles, providing opportunities for success, fostering mateship, nurturing family bonds and raising awareness of harm-causing behaviour.
There are three main programs offered to schools, sports clubs and community groups:
-Sammy D Connect offers mentoring and community engagement programs to provide a positive influence in the lives of disadvantaged or at-risk young people.
-Sammy D Impact presentation and workshop is delivered by family and friends of Sam who share his story and openly discuss safe decision-making and the prevention of violence and bullying.
-Party Wise is a forum that provides advice on safe party planning including information regarding legalities, responsibilities and harm minimisation to ensure a party is a night of celebration, not tragedy.
Schoolies Festival 2012. Image courtesy of Sammy D Foundation
The Sammy D Foundation welcomes the support of the public in the form of donations, volunteers and mentors. In their blue polo shirts and hoodies, they are often seen out and about in the community, organising and participating in events, raising awareness and money for their cause. You can contribute by:
-Making a tax deductible financial donation online which will help the foundation assist as many young people as possible.
-Purchasing Sammy D merchandise like hoodies, stickers and wrist bands from the online shop.
-Supporting major corporate sponsor Magain Real Estate who will make a significant donation for every house sold by a "friend" of the Sammy D Foundation.
-Attending the annual Sammy D Comedy Gala as part of the Adelaide Fringe on Sunday February 24th, 2013 at the Royalty Theatre. If performers from previous years (Arj Barker, Fiona O'Loughlin, Greg Fleet) are any indication, it is sure to be a hoot! Click here to purchase your tickets.
-Joining the Sammy D Foundation facebook group to be informed of current and future endeavours and ways you can help.
Violence and bullying is prevalent in today's society and unfortunately what happened to Sam isn't an isolated case. This is evident by incidences of anti-social behaviour regularly reported in the news and from the stories openly shared on the foundation's Facebook page.
It could happen to anyone- your son or daughter, your brother or sister, your friend. This was what motivated Melissa, a mentor, volunteer and protective sister of two younger brothers much like Sam, to donate her time and get involved with the foundation. She can instantly see the positive effect the Sammy D Foundation has on the lives of young people and their families and finds it rewarding to "see the smiles on their faces when they get the help they normally wouldn'tů or the impact the school talks have by the reactions of the kids and the feedback they give."
This was especially so at the recent Sammy D Foundation Christmas Day Lunch which was made possible by donations from the public. In the spirit of giving and the true spirit of Christmas, hardworking and dedicated volunteers delivered hot meals and gifts, kind words and good will to those who need it most. The foundation works tirelessly all year long to ensure our future generation is protected and supported and the voice of Sammy D is forever heard throughout our community.
For more information, please visit the Sammy D Foundation website.