Family of Rehtaeh Parsons hopes to open youth centre in her memory
Rehtaeh Parsons is shown in a handout photo from the Facebook tribute page 'Angel Rehtaeh.'
Published Tuesday, December 10, 2013 10:21AM EST
The family of Rehtaeh Parsons is campaigning online to raise funds to build a youth centre in Cole Harbour, N.S., so local teens can have a "safe haven" to go to when seeking support.
"We feel the children of this community need a safe haven. They need somewhere to go," Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh's mother, said in a video posted to YouTube. "We as a community need to do more, and we want to do more in memory of Rehtaeh."
The Parsons family is campaigning as part of the Aviva Community Fund challenge in order to raise $150,000 for the "Rae of Light Centre." The fund is open to different charities, who compete for online votes that eventually lead to funding.
Voters can vote for the centre's proposal until Wednesday, when the semi-finals end.
Leah Parsons said the centre would offer teens a place to go to discuss any problems they may be facing.
"It might be that they're having a bad day and they want to shoot some pool or they just need someone to talk to. They might want to participate in a program or a workshop," she said. "We want to empower the youth here."
Rehtaeh Parsons was 17 when she taken off life support last April following a suicide attempt. Her family alleges that she was sexually assaulted when she was 15, and that she was tormented after a photo of the alleged assault was passed around her school.
A vigil was held in Cole Harbour for the teen on Monday, which would have been her 18th birthday.
Youth workers say there is a need for such a youth centre in the small town.
“There are over 10,000 adolescents living here and it’s one of the highest percentages of youth in the HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) boroughs. And when you compare that to the amount of services offered here, there is a gap,” youth advocate Andrew Middleton said.
With a report from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl