Pittsburgh Experience

Pittsburgh Experience

Join us on October 4, 2020


Welcome to the Out of the Darkness Pittsburgh Experience

Hi, everyone!  Thank you so much for joining us for the Pittsburgh Out of the Darkness Experience!  You can click here to access the ceremony at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 4th:  PITTSBURGH OUT OF THE DARKNESS EXPERIENCE CEREMONY.

During the ceremony, you can actually post messages and share your moments with us on the ceremony website!  Please send in your pictures of your walk , your messages of hope and tell us why you walk for the cause.  Also, please share your photos or livestreamed videos of your walk with us on the Pittsburgh Experience Facebook Event Page.


While, the Pittsburgh Out of the Darkness Walk is going to look different this year, our mission to Save Lives and Bring Hope to Those Affected by Suicide has not changed. We are a strong and resilient community, united in our effort to fight suicide, raise awareness, educate our communities, support those who have lost loved ones, and support those with lived experience. We use our voices and share our stories to provide hope.  

This year, due to social distancing and safety guidelines, we will not be hosting an in-person walk at Stage AE on September 12th.  In order to plan meaningful activities for everyone, we changed our event date to October 4th and we invite you to join us on that date for an Out of the Darkness Experience, which will include an online ceremony beginning at 11:00 a.m.  For the online ceremony, we ask that you tune into the ceremony (a link to view will be provided), and then go out and walk with your family, friends, and team members either in your neighborhoods or local parks and post up pictures or livestream videos of your walk on the Pittsburgh Experience Facebook Event Page.  You'll also be able to send in messages during the live ceremony too! 

In addition to the event taking place on October 4th, we are working hard to plan other meaningful opportunities to connect and inspire you leading up to October 4th , and we will share more details about our exciting plans in the coming weeks.  Those details will be sent out via email and will be provided below.

We are always #TogetherToFightSuicide.

Event Details

Date: 10/04/2020
Location: Online - Details TBA 
Program Begins: 11:00 am
Program Ends: 12:00 pm

For more information, please contact:
Contact Name: Leila Bouabdellaoui 
Contact Phone: 412-259-3352 
Contact Email: westernpa@afsp.org

Registration is free and open to the public. Walk donations are accepted until December 31st.

2020 Pittsburgh Out of the Darkness Experience Options

It is difficult to imagine what the future will hold as things continue to change every day. Many of us experiencing feelings of uncertainty and instability. The current social and economic climate is taking a huge toll on mental wellness for ourselves and those around us. Through the lens of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we know that it is more important than ever to take care of our mental health, find ways to connect and work against isolation and loneliness, and find ways to help people connect to purpose and inner strength to reduce the risk of suicide.

For this reason, your support of AFSP’s suicide prevention work is more crucial than ever.  It will help AFSP save lives as we continue to bring hope, research, awareness and support for those with lived experience and those who have suffered a suicide loss.

Now more than ever, self-care is so important. We are all struggling to cope, understand, and live under difficult constraints which affect our mental and physical health.  During this time of uncertainty, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Western Pennsylvania Chapter is here to support your community through resources, virtual programming, and more.  AFSP has a dedicated page on our website with more information on taking care of your mental health during this time. You can visit the website here: https://afsp.org/covid19.

Be a Part of the Online Ceremony on October 4th!

We would love for you to be a part of our radio and online ceremony taking place on September 19th by by either submitting a Why I Walk video talking about why you walk or a picture of you in your honor beads or a picture showing your connection to the cause with a small paragraph explaining the photo.  To submit either a video or a photo, please use the links below:

Why I Walk Video


Upcoming Events

Experience Packet Distribution - There will be two chances for team captains and individual walkers to pick up their walk gear including beads, buttons, walk t-shirts (for those who raised $150+), suggested walk routes, and resources to use during your walk.  We ask that team captains pick up for their team members.  You can either pick up on September 24th or September 27th at either The Hartwood Restaurant & Whispers Pub between 11am and 2pm or Christ United Methodist Church between 12pm or 3pm.  Times are the same for both dates.    Click here to register for the packet distribution.

Mac and Cheese MondayJoin us for a Mac and Cheese Monday event on Monday, September 28th!  AFSP is partnering with the Mac & Gold food truck for a mac and cheese cooking lesson to benefit the Pittsburgh Out of the Darkness Experience!  Taken from the gourmet mac and cheese of the Mac & Gold food truck, participants will be cooking the golden cheese sauce, boiling the spirally noodles, and preparing a couple of their best selling featured specials.  

Participants will be able to choose from three different Mac & Gold recipes (prices below).  You will then go and pick up your mac and cheese kit, which will include all ingredients, and recipe instructions.  Date, time and location TBD.  Then, on September 28th, join Tim Tassone, the owner and chef of Mac and Gold food truck, for an online cooking class to teach you how to make your very own Mac and Gold mac and cheese!  A link for the class will be sent out two days prior.

Plain Mac - $13
Buffalo Chicken Mac - $20
Lobster Mac - $23
A portion of all proceeds will go towards the Pittsburgh Out of the Darkness Experience. Click here to register.
Tranquil Tuesday Yoga and Relaxation -  Join us for Tranquil Tuesday on Tuesday, September 29th!  Emily Shimko, our Western PA Chapter Education Chair, will lead you through a 30 minute yoga session, followed by a guided Progressive Muscle Relaxation. You may participate in both or choose just one. No experience is required. For both, we ask that you just wear something comfortable and have a mat, blanket, or towel to lay on. You will be joining us from your own space, so make it as you see fit - maybe add a scented candle, dim the lighting, or even head outdoors to find your tranquility. You can move at your own pace knowing this is a safe space to just be you. This is a free event so if you'd like to donate to the Experience, please do so using the link above!
Click here to register.
Honor their Legacy & Raise Gratitude for Life - Join us on September 30th from 7pm to 8:30pm for a live virtual workshop with Sarah Nelson, a survivor of suicide loss, professional artist, and inspirational speaker, as she leads you through a calming, creative escape from daily life. You will explore legacy, gratitude, and complete a useful, intentional project to either keep or give away. For the project, each person will receive a kit that will cost $10. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pittsburgh Out of the Darkness Experience. You will be able to pick up your kits on either September 28th or September 29th and then tune in on the 30th as Sarah leads you through the project.
Click here to register and to find out what is included in the kits!
Virtually Funny: Comedy for a Cause -  Join AFSP Western PA and some of our local, Pittsburgh comedians for a comedy night on Thursday, October 1st!  The show will be hosted by Gab Bonesso, an award-winning stand-up comedian, columnist, actress, and children's performer. Gab, along with her friend and Pittsburgh-based musician, Josh Verbanets, co-created the Josh and Gab Show, which is an anti-bullying comedy stage program for children and has been featured in schools, music festivals, churches, librarie, and conferences all over North America.
The evening's lineup will include local comedians, Lizzie Martin, Lena Kinney, Jeff Fieldhouse, Arvin Clay, Brittany Alexis, John McIntire, Theresa Roberts Logan, and Zach Funk.
We hope you will join us for an evening of some laughs and fun with our local artists! This is a free event, so if you'd like to make a donation, please do so using the donation option above!
Click here to register.
It's OK to have the Blues -  Join AFSP Western PA on Friday, October 2, 2020, as we partner with the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania to bring, straight to your home, an evening of Blues music from some of our talented, local Blues artists. The lineup currently includes Pierce Dipner, Jimmy Adler, Jeff Fetterman, Eugene Morgan, Charlie Barath, and Soulful Femme with Stevee Wellons and Cheryl Rinovato. More artists to come! This is a virtual concert. A link to access will be sent out one to two days prior to the event.
Come and kickback and enjoy some wonderful music to close out or Pittsburgh Out of the Darkness Experience Wellness Week in anticipation of the our online ceremony scheduled for October 4th! This is a free event so, if you'd like to donate to the Experience, please use the donation button above!
Click here to register for the show.

Community Resources

Become a Sponsor

Download the Pittsburgh Experience Sponsorship Packet. With sponsorship opportunities starting at only $500, this is a perfect opportunity for large and small businesses to play a role in making suicide prevention a priority in the community. All sponsors will receive marketing and publicity benefits!

Upload agreement and logo online

Help Spread the Word!

Encourage everyone you know to REGISTER, DONATE, and JOIN the movement to save lives! Please help promote the event through your social media outlets! #OutoftheDarkness

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


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 10/04/2020 and receive an official Out of the Darkness Walk T-shirt!


Activities of Hope and Healing

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. 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. Learn more by watching our honor bead video.


The Out of the Darkness  Experience 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!