New Program, THE FORT, Draws a Crowd

A new, monthly pop-up teen center called THE FORT drew about 50 teenagers to its first event on Sunday.

The initiative was launched by the Ryan Bartel Foundation, which was founded by Suzie Bartel after her 17-year-old son took his own life in 2014. She’s since heard from countless young people who said they need a safe place outside of school where they can be themselves.

At THE FORT on Sunday, the students gathered could do just that. The three-hour event included a variety of free workshops attendees could choose from, including music therapy with A Place to Be, art therapy, yoga and meditation, and an exercise with therapy dogs.

“We’ve had amazing feedback,” Bartel said.

The next THE FORT is scheduled for Sunday, March 18, at Fusion Academy, 19300 Promenade Drive Suite 200 in Leesburg. The program is free but interested attendees are asked to RSVP at

Bartel Foundation Launches THE FORT for Teens