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New Non-Profit Honors Memory of Alpena Teen

Updated: Jan 18

ALPENA, Mich. — A new non–profit group in Northeast Michigan is commemorating a dear friend through support for the arts.

In 2016, teenager and artist Sawyer Boyd took his own life after months of struggling with mental health. Family friend Gavin MacDonald said he and Boyd’s other friends came together with an idea not long after.

“We have to do something about this, but it didn’t really manifest until five years later. We went to school to study different things regarding non-profit administration and mental health awareness. So we thought now would be the perfect time to start something.”

That idea took the form of a new non–profit group, “The Sunset Project,” which includes Boyd’s mother, Amy, and his sister, Maddy on its board of directors.

“We see athletics and education on a high pedestal compared to the arts. And I think it’d be really good to see the arts up there with them.”

“We want to help these kids ages 16-23 who are going through so many pressures of that age. I want to see this grow and be a place where kids can reach out.”

The Sunset Project seeks to help young artists like Boyd by covering expenses for new tools or materials, whether that’s a new camera for a photographer or brushes for a painter. They also have plans for mental health presentations this fall, where they’ll teach students to look out for each other and reach out if they need help.

MacDonald said the group will launch their first round of creative endeavor grants next month.

Article by:

Kent Davis, WBKB TV 11

March 7th, 2022

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