Students and community members will walk “Out of the Darkness” on March 3 to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFP).
This will be VSU’s second annual Out of the Darkness campus walk. Individual students and groups have already raised over $1,000 of the $5,000 goal.
According to their website, AFP uses the funds from the walks for research, educational programs and resources for survivors. They also lobby for policies and legislation that impact suicide prevention.
“We have been raising money through selling t-shirts, donations from family and friends,” said Rebecca Shook, junior business management major and publicity director for VSU’s Out of the Darkness.
Forty-one individual students and student groups have signed up for the walk already. According to Shook, anyone is welcome to make a team and begin raising money.
Shook said she got involved after Walk Chair and VSU Chapter Founder Samantha Watson-Jones invited her to walk last year.
“It was a huge hit with only a couple weeks of preparation,” Shook said. “I wanted to be a part of it, so I applied for the exec board. I walk because I have been there before. I have had friends who have been in those situations before. And, I want to be a part of stopping suicide.”
The Center for Disease Control lists suicide as the second-highest cause of death for people aged 10-34. Suicide is second only to unintentional injury in college-aged people and younger, 15-24.
Out of the Darkness participants will walk a short 5K, about twice around VSU’s main campus. Snacks and water will be available. The event begins at 5 p.m. with onsite registration and a run-through of the walk. The walk begins 6 p.m.
According to Shook, walking is not the only way to get involved. “You can most definitely donate without walking or walk without donating,” Shook said.
Registration is free and can be done online at VSU’s Out of the Darkness fundraiser page. Anyone who raises $100 on or before March 3 will receive a free Out of the Darkness campus walk T-Shirt.
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Story by Kelsey Dickerson, Editor-in-Chief. Photo courtesy of AFP.