Demi Lovato Welcomes Parkland Shooting Survivors on Stage at San Diego Tour Kickoff
By Meredith B. Kile
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Philymack
Demi Lovato kicked off her Tell Me You Love Me tour in San Diego, California, on Monday, and welcomed some very special guests on stage.
The singer invited six survivors from the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, to her kickoff show, which also featured a pre-show session on mental health awareness from Mike Bayer, founder and CEO of CAST Centers, which Lovato co-owns, and chairman of its nonprofit CAST Foundation.
Julius Castillo, Mackenzie Marie Chapman, Samantha Megan Deitsch, Maia Hebron, Eden Hebron and Sarah Stricker -- all students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 teens and teachers were killed by a former student on Feb. 14 -- met with Lovato and opener DJ Khaled before the show and joined her on stage to help raise funds for the CAST Foundation, which will go toward mental health resources for the students.
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“Tonight was our first night of the tour and it was incredibly special,” Lovato said in a statement. “I was able to bring out and meet a few of the students that had to experience the shooting in Florida on the 14th. It was such an honor to meet them and hear their courageous stories. I want to make sure their voices are being heard and we can provide them with the mental health and post-trauma care they need.”
“The courage and resolve that the students from Stoneman Douglas have is truly inspiring. It was an honor to meet them and I’m glad they were able to join us tonight,” added Bayer.
Lovato offered similar sessions and services on her 2016 Future Now tour with Nick Jonas, and has been candid in the past about her own struggles with mental health and addiction. See more in the video below.