Trey Brown told his parents, Christine and Donald Brown, that he wanted to start a foundation to help those struggling with mental health issues, suicidal thoughts and those in a bad place, just like he once was.
Trey signed up to volunteer for teenline.org, a hotline for teens who need help with any kind of issue, a place where he could gain resources for his foundation.
“Trey Loves You,” was the most-loved name for his foundation as he dreamed about what it could be.
Trey completed nine training sessions. The 16-year-old completed his final training session the day before his death on June 30.
He was in a dark moment and felt he had no one to turn to.
Christine and Donald Brown want to make sure no one feels the way Trey did in that moment. They are setting out on continuing Trey’s dream of starting a foundation where no one has to feel alone.
“The goal of the foundation was kind of what Trey wanted to do, we had talked about,” said Donald. “He wanted to help kids, particularly those who are experiencing suicidal ideations, but basically kids with any problems. He wanted to do something to help them.”
Christine and Donald have partnered up with Win One Church in Valencia to create a place, a beginning for the foundation, to honor Trey and his legacy.
The first act of starting up the foundation is a challenge that the two created – the Tell Someone Challenge.
Christine and Donald have received affectionate words from Trey’s friends in a variety of mediums, all expressing their gratitude for Trey — for the way he listened, talked, understood and was there for them.
“They would tell me stories where they really felt very fortunate to have gotten to know him because they said they’ve never met anybody like him,” said Christine, “because they said that when they would tell him their struggles or their issues or their problems, they said that Trey really listened. He listened with everything his eyes, his ears and he’s focused … They said that when they’re talking to him, he just gives them everything that they, you know, that he has in that moment, meaning he’s focused and really listening and trying to understand and help them.”
Their goal with the Tell Someone Challenge is to continue that cycle that Trey started of telling someone in your life that you are struggling, so they can be there for you, just as Trey would be there for friends.
“It was premised on just you know, do it for Trey, if you’re not doing it for yourself,” said Donald.
The steps are a way to celebrate Trey’s life: Tell someone with whom you feel most safe your secret burden, share Trey’s story with the people you care about and invite them to take the challenge (#TreyLovesYou, #TellSomeoneChallenge and #TellForTrey), and send a message to Trey saying, “I shared because of Trey,” and share any links to posts about the challenge. Trey’s number is 661-777-8368.
“The night that Trey passed, we didn’t know,” said Donald. “He didn’t share with us what was going on with his burden, and we were clueless and if had we known, there’s a possibility we could have helped him and done something, and we subsequently learned that just a lot of children just struggle in silence.”
Trey Brown’s Compassion
Donald Randolph Brown III, affectionately known as Trey, died at the age of 16. The Santa Clarita Valley resident was a sophomore on his way to his junior year at Harvard-Westlake, a private school in Studio City.
Trey grew up being loved by his mother Christine, his father Donald and his three siblings — Shiloh, Madison and Ruby.
Christine and Donald often joked that Trey “raised himself” because of how mature he was at a young age.
He also began to show his unconditional compassion at a young age. When Trey was no more than 9, he saw a man inside of a McDonald’s, grasping a hot cup of coffee during a chilly night.
Trey asked his father if they could buy him food and they did. Trey delivered the tray and asked the man if he needed anything else. The man asked for a jacket.
Trey led his father to two stores before finding the perfect jacket for the man.
“He was exceptionally gifted with just compassion and generosity,” said Donald. “He just had all these wonderful, great qualities.”
Trey grew up loving so many things: Sports, fashion, video games, going to the gym and anime. His interests carried over to even create unique bonds with each of his siblings.
Shiloh and Trey bonded over a love for anime, video games and sports.
Madison and Trey bonded over their mutual love for fashion.
Ruby and Trey bonded over anime and basketball. Trey always made time to play Roblox with Ruby.
On his own, Trey played games like Rocket League on his Xbox, he participated in both tackle and flag football, played basketball, and played volleyball for SC Legends and made the varsity volleyball team at Harvard-Westlake.
“Volleyball just became his everything,” said Donald.
His grades never slipped and he managed to maintain straight A’s in his high school career. He came home every day to do his homework because that is what he knew he needed to do.
In 2021, Trey became a published author in “Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul,” with a story in which he opened up about the fear of his voice cracking in public.
Christine and Donald said that his friends described him as a social butterfly, never eating with the same group of people every day. He was there for his friends whenever they needed them.
In Christine and Donald’s eyes, Trey was perfect, but even perfect people struggle.
In 2022, Trey approached his parents expressing that he was struggling.
“That made all the difference because we were able to immediately help and it just changed everything,” said Donald.
After that moment, Trey wanted to help others, the way his parents helped him.
For more information on the foundation, Trey and the Tell Someone Challenge, visit www.win-one.org/trey.