Neil Davis: Sammy D Foundation: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Brave dad prevents youth violence in honour of lost son
Courageous. Dedicated. Passionate
After losing his son Sam to violence, Neil Davis dug deep to save other families from similar grief.
He founded the Sammy D Foundation in honour of Sam, who died from one unprovoked punch when he was seventeen.
Neil now tells his story through programs aimed at preventing violence and the harm caused by alcohol and illicit drugs.
“As difficult as it is for me to talk about Sam’s story, the chance of saving just one life makes it all worthwhile,” he says.
Neil is proud to be named a Westfield Local Hero because it recognises the passionate work of the whole Sammy D Foundation team.
“It’s good to have the work that you are doing validated,” he says.
“Something so tragic that happened to us has turned into something so positive for the community. In one school alone, acts of violence have dropped by eighty-two per cent in the five years since we started presenting our education sessions to the students.”
Neil has completed a Diploma of Youth Work to ensure he has the best understanding of how to get his message across.
Since 2008, the Sammy D Foundation has reached over one hundred thousand children and teenagers aged from seven to seventeen and visited hundreds of schools. Neil has volunteered more than seven thousand hours of his time.
He is particularly proud of the one-on-one mentoring program the foundation has set up for at-risk youth.
“The mentor shares their life experience, skills and knowledge to assist the young person to reach their goals.”
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
The Sammy D Foundation will use its grant to fund mentoring for ten at-risk children.
“Some of the kids we work with haven’t been to school for six months, and we get them back into education,” says Neil.
“Most of them won’t thank you at the time, but you might meet them ten years later and they say, ‘you know what, you changed my life’.”
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.