April Trebbi works to keep daughter’s memory alive

April Trebbi works to keep daughter’s memory alive

In April, friends commemorated what would have been Samantha Trebbi’s 20th birthday by painting a wall in her honor in Gainesville.

It’s been almost five years since Samantha Trebbi suddenly passed away. In that time, her mother, April Trebbi, has worked to keep her memory alive by raising money to help others and doing random acts of kindness.

For example, for the fourth year now, Trebbi has raised money to help campers at Camp United at Camp Little House in South Miami. Each summer, the administrators of the Girl Scout camp invite parents to spend an evening with them to see what campers do on sleepover nights. The parents aren’t charged to attend, but the organizers do ask for donations in Sam Trebbi’s honor.

“We call it the Chipmunk Scholarship Fund,” said Sue Beaudoin, who runs the camp program. “Her [Sam’s] camp name was Chipmunk.”

Generally, they raise approximately $200 that night that is added to what April Trebbi donates. This year, she raised more than $1,500 and was still expecting more checks before going to the July 8 event.

“The scholarships are given out in increments of $50,” Beaudoin said. “The camp fee is $100.”

April Trebbi works to keep daughter’s memory alive

Memories of Samantha Trebbi are kept alive at Camp United.

Beaudoin said they give the scholarships to campers, program aides and counselors-in-training. The teens are included in the scholarships because they have to pay for the opportunity to work at the camp. They do receive community service hours for their work.

“It definitely helped several different girls over the years who needed that extra assistance,” Beaudoin said. The connection to the camp for the Trebbi family goes beyond raising money. There is a butterfly garden at the camp that was created by one of Samantha Trebbi’s fellow Scouts. When Trebbi passed away, the girl felt the need to do something to honor her, although the two didn’t run in the same circles.

The Trebbi family maintains the butterfly garden for the camp.

“We are sisters in Girl Scouting,” Beaudoin said. “I see this butterfly garden will help remember her. It was one of the biggest surprises for me. They were never in the same group; they didn’t have the same friends. It reassures you this is an amazing program.”

Beaudoin said Samantha Trebbi was an amazing girl.

“She was one of those girls, who had the little girl still inside her but she was a great leader,” Beaudoin said. “She is missed. We have maintained an amazing relationship with her mom and her dad as well. She [April] is very involved. She keeps Chipmunk alive here. Her mom brings the excitement back again.”

On the Camp United day, Trebbi takes the same foods that Sam had — ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, cookies and shaving cream for the shaving cream fights.

“I love these people. I can’t tell you what they mean to me and what they meant to Sam,” Trebbi said. “They are amazing, truly amazing people. We have a bond. I don’t think it will ever be broken.”

In addition to the Chipmunk Fund, the Trebbi family has put on a Yoga fundraiser that raised more than $30,000 that was donated to Operation Smile.

“So they can have that smile and laugh like Sam did,” Trebbi said.

Last December, Trebbi heard about some children who were not going to have Christmas, so she raised enough money to buy them bikes, scooters, clothing and a Christmas tree that they set up in the home.

Over the years, the family raised funds that were donated to Relay For Life, Operation Smile, Children’s Miracle Network, American Heart Association and ALS.

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