Service clubs participate in suicide awareness walk

PHOTO PROVIDED Shown are Williamsport Area High School students who recently participated in the Out of the Darkness walk.

Several groups of students from Williamsport Area High School’s service clubs recently formed teams for the Greater Lycoming Out of the Darkness suicide awareness walk at the Pennsylvania College of Technology Field House on Oct. 21.

The college invited the community to participate in raising awareness and funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Students from Student Government Association, Key Club and GSA participated in the event to promote awareness of the circumstances surrounding suicide in young adults.

The Youth Development Task Force, comprised of students from several local school districts, under the guidance of Lycoming County Health Improvement Council, helped coordinate the event. “Our long term goal is to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. Our presence at the walk reinforces our commitment to working within our schools and communities to help prevent suicides,” Lysia Gehris, Williamsport representative, said about the task force’s “Find Your Worth” campaign.

Other students found this to be a very worthy cause as well. “Suicide and depression are important issues that need to be addressed within the community,” said Shayne Williams, junior.

“We need to stick together as a community to help support kids with depression and, most importantly, prevent suicide,” junior Gianna Rizzo agreed.

Sophomore Ashlyn Bird feels that raising awareness within her age group is very important. “I feel that not enough people my age understand the impact of suicide on our peers,” she said.

Serena Lewis had a more personal reason for attending. “I’m here to show support for the friends who couldn’t be here today,” she said.

Rose Wascher also was motivated to help people who might be struggling. “I want to help people love themselves.”

Senior Kyle Mayer explained the walk as an analogy for working through depression. “Just like we will power through the walk, we hope people will power through life with the help of a support group or support from friends,” he said.