The Rev. Claire Woodley-Aitchison was shaken last year when she read a newspaper article about the spate of young people killed in this community in the matter of a few years.
It made reading the succession of names almost too much to bear: Laura Treanor, 19, Justin Veatch, 17, Katelyn Lonergan, 19, Emily Cornish, 16, and others.
“When I first saw it I was horrified,” Woodley-Aitchison said. “I said, ‘I don’t want to look at this.’ Then I said, ‘I’ve got to look at this.’”
What it made clear — and what several such tragedies since have underscored — was that young people are dying in an array of circumstances and the only common thread was that they might have been prevented.
The article also exposed for her and others how unprepared the community was both to confront the problem and respond to the losses.
“Every town does have their problems,” said Tricy Cushner, president of the Yorktown-based Alliance for Safe Kids. “But for some reason we’re paying a bigger price, and we’re paying a bigger price than any of us are willing to pay.”
What started last year as an interfaith effort has grown to include community groups, such as ASK, along with the town and local schools, and will culminate Feb. 27 with a program called Save A Life.
From 3 to 6 p.m. that Sunday, teenagers and adults, including those without children of their own, are encouraged to come to the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center at 1974 Commerce St.
Woodley-Aitchison sits alongside an enlarged photograph of her late son Noah. (Joe Larese/The Journal News)