Riverhead’s first Out of the Darkness walk drew hundreds Main Street yesterday morning.
The walk benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to fund new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. Yesterday’s event raised more than $30,000 with more than 300 pre-registered walkers.
“We are committed to bringing mental health awareness and suicide prevention training to Long Island schools, colleges, universities, community groups, and local corporations,” the foundation’s website says. “Last year we conducted over 75 individual community/school trainings affecting over 3,000 Long Islanders. The money raised from the East End Walk will be targeted to be spent on programs on the East End of Long Island.”
Before the walk there was a ceremony at the Hyatt Hotel where participants received beaded necklaces, color-coded to match their own stories. The necklaces, called “honor beads,” show each walkers personal connection to the cause, like loss of a child, a parent or a friend, or their own personal struggle.
Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio presented the group with a proclamation and words of encouragement.
“We don’t want this to be a dark and sad dreary day. We want it to be a message of hope,” said Ann Morrison, AFSP Long Island Area Director. “When you’re walking, look who is walking with you, look along side of you and remember that you’re never alone.”
The walk is accepting donations online until Dec. 31.
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