Walk Date: 09/22/2019
Walk Location: Maryland SoccerPlex - Germantown, MD
Check-in/Registration Time: 10:00 am
Opening Ceremony: 11:00 am
Walk Begins: 11:20 am
Walk Ends: 1:30 pm
Friendly, leashed dogs are welcome at this event.
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 from the time check-in begins until the walk starts. Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.
When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Walks, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.
Thanks to Walkers and Donors like you, AFSP has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025.
Click the Register Now button at the top of the page to get started right away.
Although fundraising is optional and there is no minimum fundraising requirement (and no fee to walk), each dollar raised helps us deliver suicide prevention programs both in Maryland and nationally. With last year's Walk fundraising, our Maryland Chapter was able to educate over 2,500 Marylanders on suicide prevention. We:
• spoke to middle/high school students, their parents and educators
• presented to active duty military members, veterans and first responders
• spoke at churches, community centers, libraries, and senior homes
• hosted our third annual State Capitol Day in Annapolis and talked to legislators about how suicide affects Maryland and how we can start reducing the annual suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.
• organized 10 Survivor Day events and continue to facilitate the Survivor Outreach Program, a peer support program for loss survivors.
Your donation also contributed to over $5.2 million in scientific research grants awarded by AFSP.
There are 3 small things you can do to kick-start your fundraising work:
• Personalize your walker page online. Telling your story will make those who see your page feel more emotionally connected to you and the cause. If you're a team captain, be sure to personalize your team page!
• Donate to yourself, even just a modest sum of $20, to show others you are committed to the cause. It's easier to ask others for money if they see you have also donated.
• Share your page and story with others. It's OK to ask for donations! And you may have to ask several times – that’s OK too!
You are also welcome to hold your own third-party fundraiser and use those funds raised toward your individual or team goal. Contact us for supporting your private fundraiser: [email protected]. We can help promote your event to other walkers and supporters.
This website is designed for online donations. On the day of the walk, you can also bring cash or checks (made out to “American Foundation for Suicide Prevention” or "AFSP"). Once registered, be on the lookout for occasional emails from out walk chairs with walk updates, fundraising tips and suicide prevention training opportunities.
Help Spread the Word!
Download the Montgomery County Walk Flyer! Please help promote the event through your social media outlets! #OutoftheDarkness
There are many more social media outlets, please use any and all to help promote the event. Tell your story about why you walk!
Raise $150 by 09/22/2019 and receive an official Out of the Darkness Walk T-shirt!
Remember, in addition to fundraising online, you will be able to turn in additional cash or check donations at the registration table the day of the Walk.
The Montgomery County walk t-shirt includes our major sponsors' logos on the back, so if you know a business who would like to be included, please have them contact our walk chair at [email protected]
It's also a great idea to let your employer know you'll be walking and to let them know we have sponsorship opportunities. Starting at only $250, businesses can show their support to the suicide prevention mission by contributing a tax-deductible financial gift as a sponsor. For more details, please download and review our sponsorship packet.
Make sure to arrive early to allow time to explore the resources area. Information about local mental health and health organizations will open at 10:00 am. This will be an opportunity to gather literature, hear about upcoming events, and connect with others who are dedicated to raising awareness of mental illness and suicide, strengthening prevention efforts, and providing support to those impacted by suicide loss.
If you are a community partner and would like to table at the Montgomery County Out of the Darkness Walk, please email us at: [email protected]
Friendly, leashed dogs are welcome at the event. AND - with a $5 donation, you can pick up an AFSP Pooch Bandana at the Merchandise Store.
Stop by our Merchandise Store and purchase “Be the Voice” or “HOPE” swag. The store accepts cash, checks and credit cards. Proceeds will go back to the Montgomery County Out of the Darkness Walk!
Activities of Hope and Healing
Losing someone to suicide or struggling with a mental illness can feel like no one understands what you are going through. Unlike other illnesses, it is difficult to look at someone and know their connection.
There is an honor bead for everyone, whether you have lost a loved one, struggle personally, support a friend and/or family member, or all of the above.
Walk Location, Route, and Event Information
About the Location: We will meet at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Be on the lookout for Out of the Darkness Walk direction signs. There is plenty of parking available.
Walk Route: We will loop around the stadium for 2.5 - 3 miles.
What to Expect at the Walk: The walk will take place rain or shine. We encourage walkers to arrive at 10.00 AM when registration opens, so that you have ample time to check-in and then enjoy all of the pre-walk activities we have to offer.
• Pre-walk activities will include: wearable buttons; honor bead necklaces; music; the AFSP merchandise store; learning more about AFSP and our local chapter; community resource fair; and more.
• Water and Snacks will be available. You are permitted to bring your own water bottle container to refill.
• Team captains are encouraged to bring a sign to use as a marker to assemble your team on the field. Any walker is invited to bring signs, photos, etc. to wear or carry while they walk.
• Walk opening ceremony will start at approximately 11:00 AM and will last about 20 minutes and then the walking starts.
• The walk is not competitive. You are not required to complete the entire 2.5-3 miles. And you walk at your own pace.
• After you are done walking, we will close the event with a brief closing ceremony.
The Out of the Darkness Community Walk is a journey of remembrance, hope, support, and a walk that unites a campus and community – a time to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and our loved ones.