May 29, 2020

Bartel Foundation expands FORTitude for Teen Mental Health

The Ryan Bartel Foundation has extended its FORTitude programs through July to give teens a chance to connect.

April 07, 2020

Val Walters of the Ryan Bartel Foundation offers guidance during a trying time

The coronavirus pandemic is providing a tumultuous time for teens who were already facing many challenges. The Ryan Bartel Foundation has created ways to reach teens who would normally come to "The Fort," their community space.

The Times-Mirror sat down with Walters -- virtually -- to discuss her new role with the Ryan Bartel Foundation and how they are handling this challenging time. 

March 09, 2020

Ryan Bartel Foundation announces new Executive Director

WATERFORD, VA – Ryan Bartel Foundation, a Loudoun County based nonprofit whose mission is to prevent youth suicide, announced today the hiring of Valeria (Val) Walters as the Foundation’s new Executive Director. Val most recently served as the Executive Director of Committee for Dulles, a nonprofit that supports and encourages the growth of Washington Dulles International Airport. Val’s background also includes serving as a public advocate for transportation and economic development projects in the region as well as serving on the Board of both the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and Stone Springs Hospital.


“We are thrilled to welcome Val to the Ryan Bartel Foundation team,” said Suzie Bartel, Chair of the Board. "Val's unique combination of leadership, experience, enthusiasm and her strong connection to our mission, make her the right person to propel our Foundation forward.”

Val is replacing Chris Croll, Ryan Bartel Foundation Board member who was serving as interim Executive Director.


About Ryan Bartel Foundation

Ryan Bartel Foundation is a growing nonprofit located in Loudoun County, Virginia whose mission is to prevent youth suicide through awareness, upstream educational programs and activities that support and empower youth, families and the community-at-large. Foundation programs are focused on building acceptance, connection, resiliency and hope.

January 28, 2020

Ryan Bartel Foundation Expanding Organization

WATERFORD, VA – Ryan Bartel Foundation, a Loudoun County based nonprofit whose mission is to prevent youth suicide, is experiencing rapid growth and therefore expanding the Foundation’s leadership team. A search for a seasoned Executive Director for the Foundation is underway and the Foundation’s Board of Directors added three new members this month.


New Board members are:

·         Wallace H. Owings, CPA, managing principal of the firm Owings & Company PLLC, has a long history of community involvement, including serving as President of the Committee for Dulles, Dulles Rotary and the Virginia Jaycees. Owings was also appointed by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to the Loudoun Water Authority where he chaired the Finance Committee. Owings has served in local government as an Assistant Town Manager, Assistant County Executive and Administrator of Special Tax District. He formerly served as the CEO of a not for profit and owned a printing and graphics company. Owings is a licensed CPA in Virginia. 


·         Margaret L. Brown is a strategic communications and public relations consultant with more than three decades of experience in public relations and internal communications for companies in the technology and channel sectors, as well as retail, nonprofit and finance verticals. Her current clients include 100WomenStrong, Wize Solutions, InterGrid, SWaN & Legend, Hill Top House Hotel, Quidne Press and Altor Locks. Brown is a freelance blog writer for Strategic Communications Group. She previously served on the Board of All Ages Read Together and is a member of, and Immediate Past Chair of, the Board of the Loudoun Literacy Council.


·         Christina (Chris) Croll has spent 25 years leading strategic communications projects for media, education, tech, legal and healthcare companies. Croll’s clients and employers have included America Online, Gartner, The Walt Disney Company, Network Solutions, Qwest Communications, Total Document Solutions and several startups. Most recently, Croll served on the Loudoun County School Board which governs one of the state’s largest school divisions with an annual operating budget of $1.3B. In 2018, Croll founded the National Center for Gifted Services, a parent resource center which sprang out of her nonprofit, Loudoun County Parents of Gifted Students (LoCoPOGS), which today serves more than 1,000 families. 


In addition to joining the Board of Directors, Croll is serving as interim Executive Director for the Ryan Bartel Foundation while the staff search is underway. Suzie Bartel continues to serve as Board Chair. 

October 11, 2019

Color Run raises more than 24K for programs to prevent youth suicide

More than 300 runners and 100 volunteers participated in the fourth annual We're All Human 5K Color Run Sept. 29 at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville. The event was hosted by the Ryan Bartel Foundation.

April 01, 2019

Bartel Foundation Expands Teen Suicide Prevention Efforts; Hosts "Let it Be' fundraiser on April 6th at Breaux Vineyards.

As the Ryan Bartel Foundation enters its fourth year of helping the Loudoun County youth, it is working to expand its reach.

April 29, 2018

'I hope he's proud': Virginia mom who lost son to suicide builds 'FORT' for kids.

Suzie Bartel is turning her pain into purpose.

A few years after losing her son Ryan to suicide, the Loudoun County, Virginia, mother is trying to prevent other families from having to go through the same agony.

April 19, 2018

Woodgrove hosts third annual suicide, mental health awareness walk

What started as one assembly and walk to discuss mental health, hope and healing at Woodgrove High School two years ago has spread across the county.

April 18, 2018

9000 students take part in suicide prevention walks

What started as a conversation among a half dozen Woodgrove High School students a few years ago has blossomed into a countywide movement to make sure their classmates know they aren’t alone in their everyday stresses.


February 11, 2018

FORT for Teens

Loudoun County has seen a rise in teen suicides. Find our what one woman is doing to prevent that...

February 07, 2018

Bartel Foundation launches the FORT for Teens

The mother of a Woodgrove High School student who took his life in 2014 is continuing to provide a lifeline for other young people.

August 03, 2017

Loudoun Schools Roll out New Suicide Prevention Tactics

  After seeing a rise in teen suicide over the past few years, Loudoun County’s elected leaders have made it clear that the schools need to do more to support and identify students who feel overwhelmed.

Armed with more funding for mental health professionals, the school system is rolling out two new initiatives that will debut with the start of the school year.

April 19, 2017

VA High School students walk to prevent suicide

Teenagers at several high schools in Loudoun County, Virginia, participated in suicide prevention walks on Wednesday. The event began in honor of a student, Ryan Bartel, who took his life. News4's David Culver reports. 

April 19, 2017

We're All Human Walks towards Understanding

Adults don’t always understand the social pressure facing teens; even though they say they do.

That was the message delivered Wednesday, April 19th, at Woodgrove High School by Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall, a mental health therapist.

April 19, 2017

Thousands of students walk for suicide prevention

Woodgrove High School’s We’re All Human group hosted its second assembly and walk today to raise awareness for teenage suicide prevention. We’re All Human members spoke about their struggles with depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges, and how involvement in the club has helped them work to overcome them.

April 14, 2017

Suicide prevention walk expands to three schools

The efforts of a few Woodgrove High School students to provide support to classmates struggling with mental illness has multiplied, and they’re asking the community at large to join the movement.

November 17, 2016

Loudoun mother who lost her child to suicide is working to save others

Suzie Bartel isn’t just a can-do person. She describes herself as someone who can’t just stand by when she sees a problem. She has to respond. So when her son Ryan took his own life on Oct. 15, 2014, she got to doing. 

November 08, 2016

After numerous teen suicides, Loudoun comes together to talk ‘hope’

After a wave of teen suicides around the county over the last year, Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) brought Loudoun County together Nov. 7 to figure out how the community can do a better job at suicide prevention. 

November 08, 2016

Randall hosts teen suicide prevention forum: 'There's always hope'

County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large)’s teen suicide prevention forum at Inova Loudoun Hospital on Monday night brought together people from across age groups and professions with a single message: “There’s always hope.”

September 06, 2016

Community suicide prevention effort brings coping training to Loudoun Public Schools

After at least five Loudoun County Public School students committed suicide last year, a mother who lost her son is stepping up to help provide the training she believes students are missing.

June 07, 2016

Loudoun parents seek guidance, service at suicide prevention town hall

The in-depth three-hour long discussion included advice from a mother who lost her son to suicide, two therapists, Loudoun County Public School officials, students and more. The speakers talked about the signs that a teen may be suicidal, research on who is most at risk, how to destigmatize the subject and how to make students feel comfortable talking about their issues.

April 06, 2016

Students Respond to Suicides With Message of Hope

Students at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, Virginia, walked out of classes Wednesday to express support for classmates struggling with depression. News4's David Culver spoke with the mother of Ryan Bartel, who died by suicide in Oct. 2014.

April 06, 2016

Principal: Suicide is the number one cause of death among teens in Loudoun Co.

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (ABC7) — It's a walkout.

All 1,500 students left their books inside and took a lap around Woodgrove High School in Purcellville.


April 06, 2016

VA high school stands against teen suicide

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WUSA9) -- A Loudoun County High School takes its first steps against teen suicide.

April 06, 2016

Loudoun County students, community walk to ‘de-stigmatize’ mental illness

Sending a powerful message to the community that “you are not alone,” a group of Woodgrove High School students organized a special, school-wide walk to raise awareness for mental illness and suicide prevention.

April 06, 2016

Students walk to curb suicide countywide

Morning classes at Woodgrove High School were canceled so that the entire student body could go on a walk.It was an unseasonably cold and breezy morning, but few complained. Their thoughts and conversations were on Ryan, and Will, and Christian, and other young people from the Loudoun community who had lost their lives in suicide-related incidents in recent years.


April 05, 2016

Loudoun County high school walk highlights problem of teen suicide

WASHINGTON — A Loudoun County high school is working to draw attention to the devastating problem of teen suicide with a walk and an assembly on the school’s grounds in Purcellville, Va.

April 04, 2016

A matter of life and death

“We’re all human” was one of Ryan Bartel’s favorite expressions.


April 01, 2016

Woodgrove High School to host suicide prevention walk

The entire student body will participate in the school's first "We're All Human - Suicide Prevention Walk."

January 27, 2016

Talk of improving the safety net for struggling teens tends to grow louder after a tragedy plays out in the public eye.

January 22, 2016

Heavy metal bands took to the Bush Tabernacle stage last Saturday evening for the second annual Rock for Ryan concert. The concert, named in honor of Ryan Bartel, a Woodgrove senior who took his life on Oct. 15, 2014, featured local bands from all over the area performing heavy metal music. Commemorative concert shirts were given to the first 100 ticket holders.

January 14, 2016

Local rockers and supporters will be jamming to bring awareness to youth suicide this Saturday, Jan. 16 from 7pm to 11:30pm at the Bush Tabernacle Skating Rink in Purcellville.

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