We rely on volunteers who are well-versed in mental wellness such as current mental health practitioners and students in the field of mental health to help at our weekly teen workshops and monthly FORT program. 


Adult volunteers, ages 21+, with an expertise in mental health are needed to support workshop leaders during our FORTitude for Teens workshops and at the monthly FORT. Psychology, social work, human services undergrad and grad students preferred. 


Workshop and FORT Assistants will work with the facilitators to deliver workshops and messaging; interact with teen participants; assist with set-up, check in and out, and attendance reporting. 


Time Commitment for Teen Workshops: One evening per week for four (usually) consecutive weeks for two hours at one location within Loudoun County. Time Commitment for the FORT: One Sunday each month for four to five hours at one location within Loudoun County.


As a small organization we rely on the generous support of our volunteers. If you have a specific talent or just want to assist, here are some ways you can help: Fundraising • Grant Writing • Marketing • Technical Support • Special Events • Finance and more


Creative Writing: Attention teens! Want to tell your story? Share your thoughts and experiences on feeling different or not accepted and what may have helped you. Essays, short stories, poetry – however you’d like to express yourself is a welcome addition to our blog!

We LOVE to Spotlight Our Volunteers!


December Spotlight
Julie Bell

I have experienced depression in my life and have vowed, and feel compelled, to try and be there for others who are struggling. The dark cloak of depression is a terrible feeling (actually, a loss of feeling). It doesn’t last and things get better. It can happen to anyone. Others always described me as humorous, energetic, upbeat—and was even the mascot of my high school. I guess what I’m trying to say is depression and anxiety don’t have a type.

The bottom line is I truly feel as though we are all connected. Those struggling need to know they are not alone. Maybe my story and support can help others. It does get better.

Julie has volunteered with our teens at the FORT, has helped with the Color Run, and is a valued member of our Communications Committee. There are many ways to get involved! Please join Julie and our many other volunteers to support our youth suicide prevention programs! 


October Spotlight
Terrie Pressman

Terrie recently started volunteering her time with the Ryan Bartel Foundation as an invaluable member of the We’re All Human Color Run committee. Terrie never missed a planning meeting, helped request and procure raffle donations, reached out to the school community, and so much more! Currently she is using her professional talents to volunteer during teen programs and is super excited to help us all return to in-person programs!

A retired teacher, Terrie enjoyed her many years teaching math to middle schoolers. Upon retiring, she spent the first part of her retirement travelling the country. Upon returning home, after several years of exploring, she now enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, and her adult daughter for whom she had the pleasure of planning her wedding. In her spare time she enjoys baking for friends and family, playing Animal Crossing with her daughter, doing puzzles, and, of course, volunteering for a cause that is near and dear to her heart!

Tanya for RB_edited.jpg

November Spotlight
Tanya Bittenbender

My daughter wrote this at 17 to describe how it feels to have a panic attack."I start off numb and silent. My heart beats out of my chest. The world spins. People are very loud. I am trapped in my body looking through eyes just above my head. My bones rattle inside me. I tell myself none of it is real. My soul tries to detach, but the skin keeps it in. I am suffocating. I pull on the hand that squeezes my heart. My legs go limp. Sharp pains. My thoughts are trying to kill me and there is no way out. I fear I will never experience freedom again.” – Annie


I asked her to document her experience so I could include it in a project I did about adolescence and panic disorder for my master’s in social work. Suicidal ideation is common in people living with panic disorder. When my daughter was in high school it was never lost on me that, of the five teens hanging out in my kitchen, all lived with anxiety and depression and two of them attempted suicide.


I volunteer with the Ryan Bartel Foundation for my daughter, her friends, and all the teens growing up behind them that are dealing with high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and mental illness. I volunteer to foster my learning and growth to support my goal of being a school social worker. I volunteer to bear witness to the challenges teens face side by side with them. I volunteer to maybe, possibly, help one teenager learn how, in one critical moment, to shift their thoughts from fear to freedom.