A Call to "Help my Friends"
Judy Garber will never forget February 28, 1998. Her son Dustin, a freshman at Florida State University, was home for the weekend and headed to the beach with his friend Paul Evans. On the way, their car collided with a truck and both Dustin and Paul were killed. They were only 19.

As she said goodbye to Dustin that afternoon at the hospital, Judy heard Dustin's voice asking her to help his friends through this terrible tragedy. She made that promise to him, not knowing what a commitment she had made. Arriving home that afternoon, she found 100 of Dustin's classmates and friends gathered in the yard. Throughout the next few weeks, Judy's house became the gathering point as the teens dealt with their grief.

Judy's experience made her realize that there was not a system in place to help young people deal with the tragic loss of a loved one. As a result and to honor her son's memory, Judy and her husband Lynn Jennings have started Dustin Project to reach all kids who need help coping with the loss of someone they love.

Dustin Project exists today for a community in need…..
Through the generosity of Judy Garber and Lynn Jennings, Dustin Project began to serve the Seminole County community in 2002. Our mission is two-fold. First, we exist to accompany students through the grieving process. Second, we desire to provide training for individuals who work with our community's youth so that they can be better equipped to help the population they serve.

Students who have lost a friend, parent, sibling, or other significant relationship, receive services, at no personal cost, from a licensed or registered mental health professional. Dustin Project has provided over 300 hours of direct client counseling and has conducted grief training seminars for over 200 adults who are in a position to assist students who are grieving. Young people who otherwise would not have received any intervention have been spared the trauma of facing their grief alone. No other community mental health organization provides free, long-term intervention service to grieving young people.

Seven out of ten teens face loss before they reach adulthood. Their ability to navigate the grieving process will impact the remainder of their lives. The obligation to provide guidance, grace and support during these crucial moments in a young person's life cannot be ignored. Please help Dustin Project meet the spiritual and mental health needs of our young people.

Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.
~Earl Grollman~