Junior Laura Bilotti helped out at this year’s Out of the Darkness Walk here at Stonehill College. The event was to help raise awareness about suicide. Laura filled us in with more details of the walk and how you can get involved in the future!
What were the main goals of the suicide prevention walk?
The goals of the Out of the Darkness walk were to raise awareness about such a sensitive issue [suicide] and to come together as a community like we did last year, but in a more positive light.
How did you get involved in the program?
I had been involved with the AFSP programs before so I had previous knowledge about the walk. Brendon Dempsey, a fellow RA who was also in the Sem last year, had the idea of starting up a team and we paired up because it is something we are both very passionate about.
?Are there anymore events like this one in the near future that you know about?
The Out of the Darkness walk is a national event that takes place at various times throughout the year, in hundreds of locations across the country. In fact, the Boston Area walk we participated in was the 2nd largest gathering out of over 30 cities doing walks that day!
?Is this event something that takes place every year or was this the first year it has been done?
This event takes place various times throughout the year all over the country, and was not the first time that it had happened in the Boston Area. However, this was the first year for Team Stonehill!?
What does this event mean to you and has it taught you anything?
This walk meant absolutely everything to me. This is something that I have personally struggled with throughout my life, and it was a chance to give back and remember those who lost their battle. I have lost a family member from this tragedy recently and it was such an indirect tribute to his life and to see that he was not alone, and neither am I. Also, as an RA in the Sem I was able to see just how much the incident at Stonehill had affected people, and to this day it still does. The community that came together in response to last year's suicide was so beautiful, and it taught me that it never went away. Time may have gone by, but the support and love is still here and may be stronger than ever.
?How can people learn more about this?
People can learn more about suicide and suicide prevention by simply talking about it. We did not want people to see suicide as something that can't be talked about because it will never get better if we do not acknowledge it. Also, CTC is a great resource to either learn about what suicide is, or to help cope with it. The AFSP is a wonderful organization that saves so many lives that people never knew were in danger, and is another great resource about the walk and its mission.
What other RA's were involved in the walk?
To be honest, all of the RAs were in some way involved. All 56 of us contributed in some way, whether it was donating, walking, or sitting at the cafe all day! Min Kim, Kat Hemming, Luis Polanco, Joey Gale, Sean Davenport, Anna Meleski and the Director of ResLife Kristen Pierce were so behind our efforts as well, and it would've been impossible without them! The real star of this walk was Brendon Dempsey, though. Without him this walk wouldn't have been the success that it was. His passion and dedication made an impact on all those who participated and I know I can speak on behalf of all of Stonehill when I say thank you for everything you did!