After the suicide of 15 year old Nathan Bruno there was a noticeable hole left in the life of everyone he came into contact with. Especially his closest friends. It was in the days after his passing that one of his friends first used the phrase “Be Great For Nate” and since then it has become less of a saying and is now a way of life for so many.
Nathan was funny, he had lots of friends, a loving family, good social bonds, was involved in sports and had a foundation of faith.
He lived with his loving and committed father that was always someone Nathan could talk to and lean on for support.
Nathan had no mental illness and his toxicology was clean, he did not fit the mold of who society expects would be at risk of taking their own life.
Even with all of this support Nathan still went through an emotional heart attack that caused his suicide.
Within a week of Nathans passing Rick Bruno was sitting at the funeral home making arrangements and a gentlemen asked who he wanted any money that came in made out to. While it was a kind and generous offer ,Rick was a bit surprised and did not feel comfortable using anyone else’s money for anything personal so he said they can make it out to The Nathan Bruno Memorial Fund and he would use any money that came in to help support the youth in the community somehow and maybe something could be learned from this situation. As Rick worked through deep grief the money kept coming in.
In April of 2018 Owen Ross, Connor Perry and Lucas Noreau wanted to make an impact and make some changes in memory of Nathan. Owen reached out to Steven Peterson, a manger at Schultzy’s Snack Shack that some of the boys knew from working there, including Nathan, and some of who he helped coach when they were younger. They trusted Steven and asked for help.
Soon after The Every Student Initiative was formed, a youth led suicide prevention group that aims to create a culture of connection. From there the rest of the original members would be added.
In June of 2018 Rick Bruno told Steven Peterson that he wanted to turn the Nathan Bruno Memorial Fund into a non profit called Be Great For Nate . The Every Student Initiative would then go on to be the first program of the non profit.
In the summer of 2019 Be Great For Nate Inc. was granted tax-exemption 501(C)(3) status, making it an official non-profit organization.
So much progress has been made since the phrase “be great for Nate” was said for the first time in February of 2018, but there is still so much that we need to do in order to accomplish the goals we have set.
In Honor of Nathan Bruno
June 19, 2002- February 7, 2018
To empower youth in exploring their areas of interest by providing healthy social emotional development and support within their communities .
Be Great For Nate strives to provide youth with a unique experience of connection to themselves, their community and their passions.
Connectedness is a proven promotive factor that decreases the chance of bullying, mental illness, substance abuse and suicide.
We connect youth through our fully comprehensive programs and some key areas of focus;
Through our programs and service we hope to build a foundation of support, enhance personal growth and help youth to discover their passions.
We strive to live every day “great for Nate” and give a voice to those that can no longer speak.