100 walkers offer hope, raise $3,489
Pam Kaufmann, spokesperson, said the second annual Out of the Darkness Walk raised $3,489 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
That total included $ 2,190 online, $1,162 in donations collected on-site and $137 in T-shirt and bracelet sales.
But the event wasn’t about money, it was about providing hope to young people.
“We want them to know somebody cares, that someone will be there, that they don’t have to think they’re alone,” Kaufmann said.
Becky Booker Marek, mistress of ceremonies, noted that suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and the third leading cause of death among all Americans ages 15-24.
Tracy Reyes Franklin, chair of the Central Texas chapter of AFSP, related that she became involved in Out of the Darkness walks after a brother’s suicide.
Dr. Howell Wright, superintendent of the Rockdale ISD, presented the welcome and Rev. Rita Sims of St. John’s United Methodist Church, gave the invocation.
Music was by Cody Kaufmann, Duck Shuffield and the Communities in Concert Band presented live music.
Jeff Curley of the group Pick w/Austin presided over a guitar giveaway.
Anyone in crisis should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).