Tell Them has suffered a tragedy this week. Tim Allen, our Youth Activist Coordinator, passed away late Sunday night. This is a tremendous loss for our staff, and for all those who knew Tim.
Tim volunteered for Tell Them at the University of South Carolina for two years before we hired him in the summer of 2011 to coordinate the SWARM Youth Council. I remember the first time we met him – Tim walked right up to the Tell Them table, said “I want to make a difference,” grabbed a Tell Them t-shirt and petition and started collecting names.
Tim was a master organizer. He could go to any event and come home with 300 signatures – in about 2 hours! His passion for reproductive health, particularly AIDS prevention, was contagious. He cared so deeply for this movement that he would jump at any opportunity to donate his time and energies to whatever was needed. He was our “go-to” guy.
When an opportunity came up for an internship, Tim was the first person we called. That position quickly gave way to full-time job coordinating the SWARM Youth Council. SWARM (Students With A Responsible Message) is a group of 10 young people who come together to change South Carolina’s reproductive health policies.
Tim was a dynamic leader. He encouraged the Council to “think big” and come up with extraordinary ideas. Under his leadership, SWARM collected over 1,600 new youth activists for the Tell Them network, wrote 26 blogs, were highlighted in 14 newspaper articles and held more than 60 events on campuses across South Carolina. Tim was extremely proud of this group, and worked hard to support them. It is hard to imagine a SWARM Council without Tim.
For me, Tim was more than a co-worker – he was a dear friend. His spirit and energy were beacons that pushed each one of us forward and always asked about the bigger idea. He was supportive and caring, and took careful time with each colleague to hear about our weekends or our upcoming plans. He was the only guy in an office full of strong women, and he loved it! There were so many times that Tim and I would talk, he’d say something outrageous, smile that sneaky smile and say “I’m the only guy – you need me to say things like that!”
The Tell Them team and SWARM Council are devastated by this loss. The absence of our brother-in-arms is already apparent. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Tim’s family in Summerville – and to all those young people whose lives were touched by an extraordinary young man who wanted to make a difference.