Tyler Joseph Leonard of Dartmouth was described by relatives as a young man who was passionate about life. His uncle says Tyler had some issues but his family got him some help.

Sadly, and without warning, Tyler committed suicide in 2018. Family members and friends were in total shock. Like many of these cases, they just didn't see it coming.

While family members and friends still live with the pain of Tyler's death, they are not sitting on their hands. The Tyler Joseph Leonard Memorial Foundation continues to raise money to help expand mental health services in our area.

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The Foundation's Joel Baptiste, Tyler's uncle, joined Townsquare Sunday this week to give us an update on the foundation's work and outline plans for this year's fundraiser.

"Tyler was just an amazing person," Baptiste said. "He was funny, he was caring, he was passionate about music and life in general, but you just didn't know what hid behind that smile."

Baptiste said the foundation is committed to promoting mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and to provide resources to those who are in need.

The Tyler Joseph Leonard Foundation was established in early 2022 and held its first fundraiser last September at Allendale Country Club, attended by more than 200 people. That resulted in a $10,000 donation to Child and Family Services and a scholarship awarded to a Dartmouth High School student.

The foundation is already working on a plan for this year, awarding four scholarships and partnering with a speaker, Kaleb Joseph, founder of the Self Help Tour, who will speak to students at several local high schools about mental health and finding their true identity.

Baptiste said this year's fundraising event will again be held at Allendale on September 9 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. It will feature music, food, raffles, speakers, Miss Massachusetts, Dance and Gymnastic Academy of Dartmouth and more. Tickets are $50 and available at The Tyler Joseph Leonard Memorial Foundation website. The event is open to the public. The deadline is August 27. No tickets will be sold at the door.

"We're trying to promote awareness and provide some resources to improve mental health services," Baptiste said. "We're hoping more people will get involved. We want to break the stigma, so people can come forward and say hey, I'm struggling. It's okay to not be okay."

Townsquare Sunday is a community affairs program, heard Sundays at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on WBSM.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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