Luke Bottari '19 Advocates for Teen Suicide Prevention
Luke Bottari '19 Advocates for Teen Suicide Prevention

Former Serra quarterback Luke Bottari '19 will kick off his third suicide prevention campaign at the Serra Homecoming Game against Mitty on Friday, October 11. With the support of the Serra and Mitty communities, he will share how people can recognize early warning signs and get local support.

After Bottari lost a close friend to suicide, he channeled his grief into starting the Play4Prevention foundation three years ago. Play4P has grown exponentially over the past three years. Public and private high schools all over the Bay Area have participated in Play4P events. On Friday, Mitty and Serra football players will wear Play4P socks and arm sleeves.

"I wanted to create something meaningful that would help other teenagers and their families to cope with mental health issues and suicide," Bottari said. "Our message is not to be afraid to reach out for help; it's not a sign of weakness. At Play4Prevention, our primary focus is shining a spotlight on teen suicide. Our goal is to educate teens, parents and school leaders about how to cope with people in their lives who are struggling. We hope to illuminate the topic of teen mental health.The Serra community is now totally engaged in health and wellness to bring assistance to all students who are struggling with mental health Issues. Programs here at Serra like Mission and Brotherhood and other wellness activities are making a great difference this school year."

Vice Principal of Student Life Marybeth Ortiz said Play4P goes hand-in-hand with Serra's focus on health and wellness.

"This year, Mission and Brotherhood is focusing on the health and wellness of our students," she explained. "We are discussing the importance of health and wellness and are sharing tools for maintaining balance and living a healthy lifestyle. We are happy to partner with Luke Bottari's Play4Prevention and Safe Space again this year. It's a wonderful opportunity to support our students and their mental health."

As the College of San Mateo's starting quarterback, Bottari '19 is excited to kick off the fall football season.

"It's a great team," said Bottari, who is one of four team captains chosen by his 80 new teammates. "Many of the WCAL all-stars are on this team, including Serra alumni Isiah Kendrick and Isaac Jennings. It's been really fun playing with the guys I knew when I was younger and competed against from schools including St. Francis and Valley Christian."

The Bulldogs are 5-0, and are getting ready for league play beginning October 19.

"Our first league game will be against Santa Rosa Junior College," Bottari said. "I'm excited to see how our team performs after the months of work together. I'm learning so much from the coaching staff–Head Head Coach Tim Tulloch, Coach Bret Pollack and Coach Mike Dovenberg. I'm completely confident that it was the right choice for me at this time to continue playing football at the junior college level with these guys, and we'll see where that takes me!"