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Yorktown Youth Advocate for Awareness, Support

YORKTOWN, N.Y.-- Jessica D’Amato remembers too well the pain that came with the death of her sister Lauren and Saturday kicked-off an organization she started to help stop youth deaths in Yorktown.

D’Amato’s organization, Young Yorktown Advocates United, invited Denny Kolsch from To Write Love on Her Arms to address the dozens of people who attended Saturday’s event.

“In my place, in my personal place of hopelessness, people stepped up and provided hope for me,” Kolsch said. “Hope appears in what would appear to be the most hopeless places.”

D’Amato said she formed the organization after seeing a pattern of deaths in Yorktown, including Lauren, who died in a car accident more than eight months ago. Kolsch told the audience that there are people, including Jessica D’Amato, and her mot her Catherine, who could help others find support.

“You have support here, there’s people who care about you here. If you’re struggling with something today, get connected with one another, talk to me, talk to Catherine, talk to someone here who can get you connected to a place to get help,” he said.

Catherine D’Amato shared the story of her daughter Lauren’s life and death with the audience, but said she was able to gain something optimistic out of it as well.

“I lost a daughter, but I believe that I gained the opportunity to give the message to my community to open this for more discussion,” D’Amato said. “I think that after today, that maybe some things will change, and if it saves one life, we’ve all done our job here today.”

Jessica D’Amato said she was amazed at the support and the message that resonated with her and the other attendants Saturday.

“I think it’s hopeful to see people come out to listen to him,” she said. “It gives me hope that people are listening and maybe we can do something to help.”

Kolsch said the story of Yorktown and the youth deaths is a reason why the organization spoke there Saturday.

“We’re drawn to places where we recognize pain and suffering,” Kolsch said. “We want to be a part of bringing hope and showing that rescue is possible in people’s lives.”

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