Learn More About Survivors Say
Your Story on Your Terms
Our teams of experienced media strategists and spokespeople offer support and resources to survivors, victims and families impacted by high profile tragedies to help them manage the sudden flood of often overwhelming media attention they receive. With the support of our trusted teams, survivors will have a say in if, when and how their stories are told.
We are a nonprofit organization which provides all of our services free of charge once we take on a case.
Survivors, victims and their families in moments of crisis will be supported through and, if needed, protected from the brightest media spotlight to cope privately and, if they choose, will be supported in how best to tell their stories in the way that most reflects their wishes. We will work to change the public narrative to focus moments of crisis and tragedy on the survivors, the victims, their lives, loves and legacies over perpetrators, tragedy and terror.
When high profile tragedies strike, significant public and private resources are offered to support survivors, victims and their families as they grieve. Often in the midst of this difficult period, survivors are suddenly confronted by the local, state and, often, national or international media.
Law enforcement, prosecutors, medical centers, religious leaders, family and friends typically jump in to try and help manage the onslaught of media requests but, too often, their support is not enough.
Survivors Say is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing survivors, victims and their families with pro bono strategic communications services and resources in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, serving as their adviser, advocate and spokesperson when – or if - they choose to engage with the media.
Working with law enforcement, survivor/victim advocates, religious leaders and others, we will pair a trusted and seasoned media relations expert or team with families in need, if they would like assistance. Through the immediate crisis and aftermath, we will offer tailored support in key areas most often needed by survivors of high-profile tragedies: Communications Strategy; Media Shielding and Outreach; Coordination & Support Around Key Events; Media Relations.
Here to Help
Survivors Say is a nonprofit organization formally created in 2020 by longtime communications advisor and former reporter David Guarino with significant support from survivors, victims, their families and those who work closely with them through a myriad of efforts. It was also supported throughout with the brainpower and energies of David’s colleagues at Melwood Global, the strategic communications firm he owns with John Boit – a fellow former newspaper reporter.
Founder, Survivors Say
Meet our Founder
Survivors Say is a Boston-based nonprofit created by David Guarino, a trusted strategic communications, political and business adviser to leaders, nonprofits, associations and corporations. David brings significant hands-on media relations and crisis management experience to Survivors Say, both as a longtime former newspaper and a strategic communications adviser.
As a newspaper reporter, David covered high-profile events including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 1994 mass shootings at women’s health clinics and many other violent crimes and accidents that led him to interview and work with survivors, victims and families. As a communicator, David directed all communications for the state’s chief law enforcement official in the Office of the Attorney General for two years. He later worked with Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet, families who lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and other high-profile incidents.
Along the way, David had the opportunity to help those thrust into the limelight in the midst of family tragedies. With the support of countless friends and allies and his colleagues from Melwood Global, the strategic communications firm he owns with fellow former journalist John Boit, David officially founded Survivors Say with the goal of engaging other communicators and allies who support our mission, vision and goals.
A Community Effort
David Guarino established Survivors Say after extensive discussions with respected community leaders and elected officials who have witnessed firsthand the need for a nonprofit that will provide communications assistance to families in times of tragedy. Read a few testimonials from our dear friends below.
Attorney General of Massachusetts
"Survivors and their families need a broad array of community, public and private support in their time of need, particularly in those most painful early days when the trauma is so raw that just getting by is a daily struggle. I'm so grateful David and his supporters have stepped forward to provide this critically important service and I have seen first-hand how beneficial it has been for survivors and their families. Our office is grateful to be able to work with nonprofits like Survivors Say in supporting people when they need it most."
Founder & Executive Director, Roca
"David and his team bring compassion and caring to every story they tell. For more than a decade working with Roca, David has carefully worked through the sensitivities of communicating with and about those at the center of urban violence and trauma. Our mission, our team and, most importantly, the young people we serve, are better for having David so deeply involved. Most importantly, Dave is a compassionate and trustworthy person, which are essential qualities needed to do this special work to help and support people during such challenging moments of their lives."
In the News
OUR WORK, IN PRACTICE
We've compiled a collection of articles that either explain our work or demonstrate how we provide support. Each article below has been approved for public display by the affected families. As we note several times on this website, we would never share information about a client without their prior approval.
POYNTER: A former journalist’s nonprofit helps survivors of high-profile tragedies
BY: AMARIS CASTILLO
Aug. 3, 2022
In May 2019, Boston College student Alexander Urtula jumped to his death from a parking garage in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He had been hours away from graduating. His girlfriend, Inyoung You, was present at the time of his death. She had sent text messages to Urtula to try to stop him. FULL STORY
UNION LEADER: FBI still investigating Manchester man's death, family pleads for answers
Jul 18, 2020
The family of the Manchester man found July 9 buried in Lawrence, Mass., is asking anyone with information about his death to come forward while the FBI continues to investigate. FULL STORY
MASSLIVE.COM: Remembering Rhonda LeRocque, the Tewksbury mother killed during Las Vegas shooting
BY SCOTT J. CROTEAU
Oct. 15, 2017
Rhonda LeRocque, the 42-year-old Tewksbury mom who was shot during the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, was remembered during a memorial service over the weekend. FULL STORY
CommonWealth Magazine: PR guru offering free media services to tragedy survivors
BY SHIRA SCHOENBERG
Jul 9, 2021
WHEN A HIGH-PROFILE tragedy occurs, the survivors are often barraged by requests for comment from the media. Reporters may struggle to figure out how to contact the surviving family. Public relations guru David Guarino announced Thursday that he is forming a new nonprofit, Survivors Say, that will provide free communications services to victims of high-profile tragedies. FULL STORY
ABC News: Former Boston College student charged in boyfriend's suicide to be arraigned
BY: ELLA TORRES
Nov. 21, 2019
A former Boston College student charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with her boyfriend's suicide will be arraigned Friday in a Boston court, prosecutors said. FULL STORY