HOWELL – At a recent meeting, the Howell Township Council honored one very active Howell student with a proclamation.
Shane Reitsma, Howell senior and wrestling team captain, was honored for his achievements in sports as well as his efforts in helping others.
Reitsma has had many high points in his wrestling career with Howell High School including: 123 wins, three time district champion, two time regional champion, two time state place winner for 2nd and 6th place, and 1st team All Shore, All Monmouth and All Division.
After reading off Reitsma’s long list of career wins, Mayor Theresa Berger joked, “Coming from someone who has no idea what I’m talking about it sounds really big.”
Not only has he excelled in athletics, but his drive for helping others has created a local movement of nationwide renown.
After the passing of his uncle from suicide, Reitsma created “Change the Statistics,” an organization that encourages students to “look out for one another with constant offerings of conversation, support, and kindness to help anyone struggling with bullying, anxiety, and social isolation,” according to the Freehold Regional High School District.
Since its inception in 2018, Reitsma’s project gained so much momentum that he was even featured on CNN as a Positive Athlete.
“[My uncle] was like a father to me…it’s just the worst feeling, just those constant questions of why, what could I do to help,” stated Reitsma in the CNN feature.
Since that moment of great personal loss, Reitsma has figured out exactly what he can do to help.
“Change the Statistics” is an initiative that raises money for those who might be suffering from suicidal thoughts but might not have the funds or means to get the help they need.
“Good on you,” Mayor Berger congratulated Reitsma.