A love letter

Spring is finally in the air!  As we enter this season of regrowth, we have some exciting changes to share at Rachael’s First Week. 

Five years ago, we felt the love that our community shared as we experienced every parent’s worst nightmare.  That love and support inspired our resolve that Rachael would want us to carry on her legacy by helping others.    

Out of great tragedy, Rachael’s First Week was born: a program dedicated to protecting the lives of our precious teens as they transition into young adults. 

Since then, because of your support, we have come so far.  Rachael’s impact has been great, and her story has been heard by over 8,000 students.  Yet there is so much more to be done.  We know that still:  

  • Each year, approximately 1,800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from accidental alcohol-related injuries.
                                                                                                                                                             Source: National Institutes of Health  
  • 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.                                                        
                                                                                                                          Source: National Institutes of Health 
  •  Suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                            Source: American College Health Association

Now, after five years, Rachael’s First Week is working to expand the scope of this important cause, seeking innovative ways to deliver our message in a more thoughtful and targeted manner in order to achieve an even greater impact.  Here are just a few things on our wishlist:

  • Pay our speakers.  Yes, you read that correctly – our fabulous, extremely busy medical residents volunteer their time for every presentation! 
  • Provide shirts for all of our speakers and staff 
  • Present 10 times a year, reaching 5,000 students 
  • Add parent presentations 
  • Expand our sorority & fraternity programs 
  • Develop video content to incorporate into the presentation – as Rachael’s friends have graduated and moved out of the area, we will use old interviews with them and capture other real-life stories to inspire our students to do the right thing 
  • App development – we want to meet kids where they are and provide them with an easily accessible and navigable tool to keep them safe (we are REALLY excited about this idea!)

We humbly come to our community again now, to ask for support.  Rachael’s death should not be viewed as a tragedy, but as an opportunity for teens to develop their potential as friends, mentors and good citizens as they mature into adulthood.  Your donation equips teens with the tools they need to Always Look Out for Each Other.  Kids like Carson, who recently shared this:  

“With the situation that some of my teammates were in with L. going to the hospital, we obviously have a lot to learn.  You truly helped us learn how to stay out of these kinds of situations, and how to handle one if it were to somehow ever occur again…we need to be even safer and smarter in the decisions that we make because these decisions affect our lives and everyone else around us.” 

Not an hour goes by that we don’t deeply miss Rachael, but we know that educating kids about being good stewards of each other keeps her legacy alive.  Follow your heart: please donate now and help Rachael’s First Week grow.  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.    

With gratitude, 

Angi & Rick Fiege  

About Rachael’s First Week

Rachael’s First Week is a program dedicated to   protecting the lives of high school seniors and college freshmen as they transition into young adult women and men. 

These can be tumultuous years when peers often look to each other for guidance as they encounter novel and potentially dangerous situations, rather than engaging experienced mentors to provide solutions. 

The mission of Rachael’s First Week is to develop the decision-making skills of teens as they enter this time of monumental change in their lives.


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©2019 Rachael's First Week

©2019 Rachael's First Week