How One Detroit Teen Is Helping Young People Cope With Loss

"I wanted to create this project so that no one else feels the way I felt when I lost my mom," says DeAngelo Hughes.

After losing his mother at the age of 13 to hypertensive heart disease, Detroit teen DeAngelo Hughes felt inspired to help other young adults cope with grief.

"When my mom passed, I felt abandoned, unloved, rejected," he said. "And I just isolated myself from the world and didn't want to talk about nothing I was going through at the time."

But when he started working with The Future Project, an organization that provides courses and coaching to help teens realize their dreams, Hughes began hearing similar stories from other young people -- including Raenuka Reneau, who lost her mother just a week after Hughes did. Reneau's organization, the Flutter Foundation, helps young people connect after experiencing loss.

Hughes decided to start a Detroit chapter to bring the project close to home.

"Here in the city of Detroit, we lose someone on a day-to-day basis," he said. "I created Detroit Flutter, which is an organization where we all as youth can come together and share our stories among each other, find a sense of hope and comfort and find people who are going through the same obstacles we're going through."

Young people aren't often encouraged to express themselves after loss -- "[We] hold in all of our emotions," Hughes explained. He's hoping his involvement in the organization will help teens open up.

Now Hughes is raising funds to make Detroit Flutter an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Watch the video above to hear Hughes describe his goals, and learn more about his fundraising efforts here.

Video footage courtesy of The Future Project.

This video was produced by Stephanie Petchers and edited by Isaac Himmelman.

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