*Online registration closes at noon (local time) the Friday before the walk. However, anyone who would like to participate can register in person at the walk during the check-in times listed above. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.
The Out of the Darkness Community Walks are the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's (AFSP) signature fundraising campaign, bringing together family, friends, colleagues, and supporters at 3-5 mile walks in hundreds of communities across the country.
When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Community Walks, you join the effort with thousands of people to raise funds and awareness for AFSP's vision to create a world without suicide.
Click the Register Now! button at the top of the page to get started right away.
We are expecting to have a sunny day with a cool morning in the low 60s and a high of 85° F. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes appropriate for the weather.
Arrival & Check-In:
Registration begins promptly at 8:30AM with the walk program beginning at 10AM.
We’re cutting down the line! Check in with one of our “speedy check-in” volunteers who will be walking around the park to register participants who do not have money to turn in or do not need to pick up a t-shirt.
There is plenty of free parking surrounding the walk site. Below are the directions to free parking. Do not park in the HEB parking lot across the Lake Robbins Dr. You will be towed.
FROM DOWNTOWN HOUSTON
Take Interstate 45 or the Hardy Toll Road north. Exit Woodlands Parkway. Go straight thru the Six Pines Drive light and follow the signs to the next available free parking lot.
Take Interstate 45 south. Exit Research Forest Drive. Turn right on Research Forest Drive. Take a left onto Grogan’s Mill Road. Continue on Grogan’s Mill Road. Proceed to Timberloch Place and follow the signs to the next available free lot. From Timberloch Place you can access the Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue and White free lots. Please visit this website for a view of the parking map. http://www.woodlandscenter.org/parking.html
The Walk Route:
This year we're taking our walk along The Woodlands Waterway. The Woodlands Waterway has a way of drawing you right to it. It’s beautiful the way it runs through the center of what is considered The Woodlands “downtown”. On one hand it’s a leisurely way to get around the area. On another, it connects you to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, Waterway Square, The Woodlands Mall and a wealth of restaurants and entertainment choices. The walking path is ideal for any participant whether you are walkers, runners, dancers, bikers, skaters, in strollers or wheelchairs. There's something to see on every side, so make sure to enjoy the scenery as you take your journey this year.
The hallmark of the Greater Houston Area Out of the Darkness Walk is our blue memorial hearts. Each heart represents the loved ones we lost to suicide. We have taken the names from the information entered online when you registered for the walk. If you did not list your loved one’s name but would like a heart for them, please email us at email@example.com by Monday, October 27th.
The SOS Shoe Garden was such a success we had to bring it back again! While our blue hearts represent the loved ones we’ve lost to suicide, the shoes represent those who have been impacted by the loss. Once again, we are asking all walk participants to bring an extra pair of shoes to the walk. The shoes will be strategically placed on the front lawn of the park, with our memorial hearts, where passersby will be able to see them. After, the walk, the shoes will be donated to Salvation Army.
Here are a few things to know about this project:
• Why are we doing this? The purpose of this activity is to create a visual image of the impact of suicide. For every one person that dies by suicide, there are at least six people that are directly affected by the loss. We want to show this by the number of shoes placed on the lawn. Last year we had over 300 pairs of shoes.
• What do I do with the shoes when I get to the park? An SOS Shoe Garden Station will be staffed with volunteers who will collect the shoes and place them on the lawn. You will be given a card to write the name of your loved one and a message about how this loss has impacted you.
• Do I have to donate my shoes? No, please let the volunteers know that you do not want to donate your shoes and they will be tagged to indicate that. At the close of the event, return to the Memory Garden station to retrieve your shoes.
• Can I decorate my shoes? Absolutely! We’ll even provide some fabric markers for you to decorate your shoes at the park. Just keep in mind that decorated shoes cannot be donated and therefore you will need to pick them up at the close of the event, but bring them back next year so they can be used again.
Resource & Vendor Fair:
We have an amazing lineup of vendors this year who will be sharing information about their programs and services and selling some great products in support of our cause. This year's vendors include:
• Cindy Cline Flores
• Counseling Center Houston
• Crisis Intervention of Houston
• Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance Greater Houston
• Dr. G’s Weight Loss and Wellness Clinic
• Kingwood Pines Hospital
• Live Beautiful Now
• NAMI-Greater Houston
• Robert Horry Sports Medicine Clinic
• SOS Memory Quilt
• Villa Sports
Remembrance Ceremony & Dove Release:
Beginning with this year’s event, the Greater-Houston chapter will be featuring a remembrance ceremony to include the release of a white dove for each relationship (i.e. mother, father, spouse/significant other, etc.). We hope to enhance the experience of all attendees with this added program feature. While we will not be distributing balloons this year, we would like to invite you & your family/team to please feel free to bring your already inflated balloons for this portion of the program if you would like to still release a balloon during the program. Once all relationships are honored in the program (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, etc.) and all doves have been released, participants will be invited to release their balloons. So, make it special and personal: choose the colors, shapes & sizes of your particular balloons to represent your loved ones. Don’t want to carry your balloons while you walk? Bring a balloon weight and we’ll reserve a space for you to store your balloons.
Through an engaging and interactive process, we are calling on our survivors of suicide attempt to collaborate in creating a mural in honor of your courage and strength. The theme of this year’s painting will be “I Live!” which will serve as the basis for the overall message in the painting. You don’t have to be an artist to participate! Stick figures and scribbling outside the lines is welcomed and encouraged! Just bring an open mind and a willingness to create a masterpiece.
Paint and paint brushes will be provided.
Something for Everyone, even the Kids and the Pooches:
Town Green Park is a beautiful, open green space with plenty of room for children to run and play. Additionally, we are very excited that the Counseling Center of Houston will be providing some very special play therapy activities specifically for the kids attending the walk.
Pets are welcome at the park and you can get your four-legged friends involved by purchasing a special AFSP Bandana for $5.
We look forward to seeing you at the park!