TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s been more than two years since Gabby Petito’s life was cut short. According to authorities, the 22-year-old was tragically killed at the hands of Brian Laundrie.
As her family continues to face grief during court proceedings leading up to a civil trial against Laundrie’s parents, they’re working to make change through the foundation created in Gabby’s honor and memory.
Gabby’s mother Nichole Schmidt says as difficult as it has been, her goal is to make real change in the world in her daughter’s memory.
“Everything I do is because of Gabby, and making her proud and saving lives through her. I think that she would be so proud of us and what we are doing. We have gotten so many emails from people around the world, saying that she has helped them through a difficult time, get out of a relationship that wasn’t good for them, and literally saying that she saved their life, so we are proud,” said Schmidt.
“We decided that instead of just kind of laying around and not doing anything and being very sad, we realized there are a lot of people that need this help and a couple days before he did it, he said he was feeling hopeless. So our mission is to help anyone in the community who is feeling hopeless,” said Venegas.
So far, the Just Help Out Foundation has assisted about 30 people in the community. The challenges those individuals are facing range from homelessness to hunger, to domestic violence and mental health.
Venegas works professionally as a mental health clinician.
“I just really feel that Joey is guiding me to all of these people that are in desperate need of help,” said Venegas.
Schmidt and Venegas decided to collaborate on this event because all of the challenges their foundations work to address are so prevalent in the community.
“Every single dollar that we raise tomorrow is going to go towards suicide prevention, mental health, domestic violence victims, and missing persons.”
There will be food, beverages, golf, and an auction at the fundraising event. It begins at 7 p.m. at Topgolf’s Tampa location. Tickets for the event are still available on the event page.
“We strive to show that community coming together, and people working together is at the core of where change will happen and everyone has to be on the same page and work together, and together we can make a difference,” said Schmidt.
If you want to escape from a violent relationship, you can get help through the domestic violence hotline at 800-799-7233. The reach help through the suicide prevention hotline, just dial 988.