Merrimack Valley Experience
Join us on October 3, 2020Register Now Donate
Welcome to the Out of the Darkness Merrimack Valley Experience
Time: Coming Soon
For more information, please contact:
Contact Name: Francis Gonzalez
Contact Phone: 978-569-5978
Contact Email: email@example.com
Registration is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted until December 31st.
This year, we’ve "reinvented" our Merrimack Valley Out of the Darkness Walk into the Out of the Darkness Experience. We need to abide by state and town guidelines, and most communities will not allow a large gathering of people in one site. At AFSP, our primary concern is to ensure the safety of our participants, volunteers and staff. While we are all disappointed that we cannot get together in person at Vandenberg Park, but we working very hard to plan alternative options to make October 3rd a special day for all Merrimack Valley event participants.
WAIT … ARE WE STILL WALKING TO FIGHT SUICIDE?
YES! The Merrimack Valley Out of the Darkness Experience is a real walk, but on your terms: you get to choose your own course, what time you start, and who walks next to you! The walking part is real—it's the community that's virtual this year. Plus, we're working on events and plans over the next two months to bring our participants together so you can feel connected with fellow survivors and those with lived experience who all care deeply about suicide prevention. We will do all we can to make YOUR Merrimack Valley Experience a special and memorable one this year.
Our community has always been the heart of the Out of the Darkness Walks. We have been closely following the CDC and state and local guidelines. The safety of our walkers, volunteers and staff has been and will continue to be our top priority.
SAVE THE DATE
We're planning a very special online Statewide Event on November 1st to bring everyone together for a Grand Statewide Experience and Celebration. Exciting, right? More to come soon.
FOCUSED ON THE MISSION
Though there are many unknowns, there are a few things we know for sure:
1. You belong to a strong community united in an effort to fight suicide while showing up for yourself, recognizing and honoring those you love, raising awareness, educating communities, supporting one another, and sharing hope.
2. We remain dedicated to providing you with opportunities to connect, heal, share stories, create impact, and show you that you are not alone.
3. While our 2020 events may look a little different than what we’ve come to expect, our mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide has not changed. Mental health and suicide prevention are more important than ever, and we’re confident that with your help we can reach more people than ever before.
We realize that nothing can substitute the experience of coming together in person, and we will continue to seek ways in which we can do that safely this fall, if possible. We welcome your ideas for gathering online this fall. We look forward to connecting in new ways, and we invite you to join us on this journey.
· All participants can create and join teams. This is a great way to motivate family, friends, and co-workers to join you!
· Registered walkers will be emailed updates and invites to e-vents in the upcoming months, as well as given the opportunity to participate for incentive prizes
· Individuals who raise $150 or more, will be receive our exclusive 2020 Out of the Darkness t-shirt!
HAVING TROUBLE REGISTERING?
Having trouble registering? Click here to view a step-by-step guide. Refer to page 1 if you’re registering yourself, page 5 if you’re registering someone else through your own account, or page 8 if you’re signing up in person on the day of the event. Be sure to also check out some of the Frequently Asked Questions on page 10.
If you’ve already registered and would like to either create a new team or join an existing one, log into your AFSP account and click on the “change team membership” option on the right hand side of your dashboard tab (on mobile you’ll need to click “dashboard” first).
We are always #TogetherToFightSuicide!
Outreach to the Community Amidst COVID-19
Your AFSP MA family is thinking of you and hoping that you are healthy and safe during this challenging time. We are all struggling to cope, understand and live under difficult constraints which affect our mental and physical health. Please know that you are not alone, and AFSP is here to help. Our dedicated Mental Health and COVID-19 page has great resources to help you and your family.
Additionally, your MA Chapter has been very active locally to enhance Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth during the Coronavirus Pandemic. To learn more, visit MA Chapter COVID Support
Merrimack Valley Walk Committee Volunteers Needed
Could you share your time and talents with us? We need YOUR help to plan this year’s Merrimack Valley Walk. If you are interested in learning more, please visit Volunteer Opportunities and complete the form so we can connect with you.
Become a Sponsor
Download the Merrimack Valley Walk Sponsorship Packet. With sponsorship opportunities starting at $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!
The Fundraising Impact
Although fundraising is optional and there is no minimum fundraising requirement (and no fee to walk), we recommend each walker set a personal goal to raise $150. Each dollar raised helps us deliver suicide prevention programs and with last year's Walk fundraising we are able to hold educational programs throughout our communities on suicide prevention, advocate for public policy changes, support and hold survivors of suicide loss day events across the state and contribute to over $4.6 million in much needed scientific research grants awarded by AFSP on a national level.
There are 3 small quick 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 page!
Donate to yourself, even if 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 put out those requests several times- that’s OK too! Post on social media or send personal emails. People will support you if you ask.
Help Spread the Word!
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.
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 10/03/2020 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.
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. Learn more by watching our honor bead video.
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.