West Essex Walk

Join us on October 18, 2020

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Event Details

Walk Date: 10/18/2020
Walk Location: Verona Park - Verona, NJ
Check-in/Registration Time: 12:30 pm
Resources & Activities: 12:30 PM
Walk Program Begins: 2:00 pm
Walk Begins: 2:30 PM
Walk Ends: 4:00 pm

For more information, please contact:
Contact Name: Rosemary, Sharon, Virginia, & Christina 
Contact Phone: 908-514-6028 
Contact Email: [email protected]


Welcome to the Out of the Darkness West Essex Walk

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 bold 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.

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 event during the check-in time listed above. Registration is FREE and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.

Thank you for your interest in the West Essex Out of the Darkness Walk in 2020. The Location for this walk is in its 4th year and we expect more walkers to gather. The walk has given people the courage to open up about their own struggle or loss, and the platform to change our culture’s approach to mental health. It is an amazing event that brings our communities together to raise  voices for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Read below for more information about the family-friendly Verona Park walk and to get answers to frequently asked questions.

Help Spread the Word!

Download the (JPEG or PDF) file of the 2020 West Essex Walk flyer to help promote the event in your community and through social media! Please use your social media outlets to help us promote the event. We encourage you to tell your story about why you support the walk and when you share on social media please use the hashtags #westessexwalk #afspnewjersey #outofthedarknesswalk #stopsuicide 

  Follow us on Facebook! Post to your Facebook page and add the direct link to your fundraising page. 

  Follow us on Twitter! If you are on Twitter, Tweet about the event. Don’t forget to add #outofthedarkness to your tweets!
Follow us on Instagram! Share and tag your photos with #outofthedarkness! Spread the word and ask for support by sharing the videos and social shares in walker central


Share your photos! #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!

Become a Sponsor

Click Here to download the Walk Sponsorship Opportunities packet.  ALL sponsors will receive numerous marketing benefits, including a spot in the Walk Resource Fair!

Join as a Resource Fair Partner

Want to host an information table inside the Walk Community Resource Fair? We will soon have the application available for the 2020 Walk. (501c3 non-profit organizations only). **Deadline to register is October 7th.**


Raise $150 by 10/18/2020 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 donations the day of the Walk.

Volunteer with us on Walk Day

Volunteers assist with everything from set-up and breakdown to snack stations, registration, route support, and much more! To register as a volunteer, please email Michelle Vorpahl at [email protected]. This is a great way to help lend a hand to a good cause right in your own community. Recommended for families, employees, sports teams, youth groups or anyone looking to give back or get involved & support AFSP.

Team Incentives

- Walks teams that raise $1,000 or more online by September 18th will have their TEAM NAME added to the 2020 West Essex Walk t-shirt!

- Walk teams that raise $1,500 or more online by October 1st will have a TEAM NAME SIGN printed to carry at the event!

- The team that fundraises the most online by October 16th (the Friday before the event) at noon will carry the AFSP banner and lead the route!

Location + Walk Route + What to Expect at the Walk

This year's event will be held at beautiful Verona Park. The walk route is approximately 1.2 miles and is wheelchair and stroller-friendly. There is the iconic bridge in between if you’d like to only go half way around.

Hopefully the fall foliage will be in full splendor at the time of the walk so you can really enjoy the many beautiful trees and their spectacular show of color.

The walk will take place rain or shine and we encourage walkers to arrive at 1:30 pm 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; Be The Voice temporary tattoo parlor; honor beads necklaces; creating kindness rocks; great music; AFSP merchandise store;  learn more about AFSP and our local NJ chapter; community resource fair; social media/photo station. 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 prevention, strengthening prevention efforts, and providing support to those impacted by suicide loss

Team captains: please pick up your Team Sign at the big tree near the bandstand we encourage you to use it to assemble your team. Any walker is invited to bring their own team sign, photo to wear or carry while they walk.

 Walk opening ceremony will start at approximately 3:00 pm at the Bandstand area. After a few brief introductions we will recognize the top teams and the top individual sponsors. It will also include the Honor Bead Ceremony; the entire opening ceremony will last about 20 minutes and then the walk begins along the path around the lake.

After you are done walking you don’t need to return to the Bandstand area however we will have the finish line “Cheer Squad” awaiting you. Our event permit is valid through 5:00 pm so any rental items will not be available after that point.


Honor Beads

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.

The Walk is a journey of remembrance and an event that unites a community - a time to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and our loved ones.

We all wear honor beads (available for free at the Honor Beads tent on the day of the event, while supplies last) - each color shows our personal connection to the cause and helps us identify others who understand our experience.

Messages of Hope

We want to spread the message that it is possible to overcome suicidal thoughts and feelings and that there are many resources available to help those who are struggling to cope. We will have a special area at this year's event for walkers to create a "message of hope" for themselves, someone they know, or just to provide strength to someone who might be struggling. We will also have an area to share messages to other walkers at the “Why I Walk Wall” Help us create a "community of caring" by letting each other know that anyone can experience suicidal thoughts but there is help, and there is hope.

Remembrance Activities

If you are a survivor of suicide loss, we encourage you to bring a non-returnable photo of your loved one to the event to add to our Remembrance Wall. AFSP's Remembrance Wall is an opportunity for walkers to share special photos and written memories of their loved one with others, or to simply pause for a quiet moment of reflection. 

Community Resources

Make sure to arrive early to allow time to explore the Walk Resource Fair. Information tables hosted by local businesses and non-profit organizations will open at 12:30pm. This is your opportunity to gather literature, hear about upcoming events, and connect with others who are dedicated to making a difference in the community.

Paws for Prevention

Friendly, leashed dogs are welcome at the event. We will also have AFSP doggie bandanas in small and large sizes at the Merchandise Tent.

The Out of the Darkness Walk is a journey of remembrance, hope, and support. It unites our communities and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and the lives of those we love and care about.

If you're looking for resources, please visit www.afsp.org/resources.


Thank you for your support! We look forward to seeing you at the West Essex Walk!