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College Hosting ‘Out of the Darkness’ Suicide-Prevention Walk

More than 250 people from throughout Williamsport are expected to participate in the eighth annual Greater Lycoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Central Pennsylvania chapter and Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The walk will be held at Penn College on Saturday, Oct. 22, with registration starting at 5:30 p.m. and the walk at 6:30.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, yet suicide is preventable. This fundraising walk supports the AFSP’s local and national education and advocacy programs and its bold goal of a 20-percent reduction in the annual rate of suicide by 2025.

“As an institution, we have made great efforts to educate our students and campus on the importance and power of suicide prevention. This walk is about education and healing for our campus and community,” said Mallory L. Weymer, Penn College’s coordinator of student health and wellness/suicide prevention specialist. “Suicide is a very real problem, but through education, outreach and hope, we have the power to save people’s lives.”

A T-shirt contest for the Greater Lycoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk produced this winning design by Penn College student Angela J. Maniscalco, a health arts: practical nursing emphasis major from Muncy.
A T-shirt contest for the Greater Lycoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk produced this winning design by Penn College student Angela J. Maniscalco, a health arts: practical nursing emphasis major from Muncy.

As part of that awareness effort, the college’s SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Campus Suicide Prevention Grant sponsored a T-shirt contest to encourage positive conversation about mental well-being. The winning design – incorporating the words “suicide prevention” and the #PCThope hashtag – was submitted by Angela J. Maniscalco, of Muncy, enrolled in health arts: practical nursing emphasis.

Anyone wishing to participate in the walk – teams of Penn College faculty/staff and students are particularly encouraged – can sign up or donate online.

The eighth annual Greater Lycoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk is one of more than 375 such events being held nationwide through December. The walks are expected to unite more than 250,000 walkers and raise millions of dollars for suicide prevention efforts.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said Robert Gebbia, CEO of the national association. “Suicide is a serious problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better, our culture will get smarter about mental health, and we’ll be able to save more people from dying from depression and other mental health conditions.”

Local sponsors for the Greater Lycoming Out of the Darkness Community Walk are Penn College, Woodlands Bank and Staiman Recycling Corp.

For more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, visit the organization’s website.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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