Howard County Experience

Howard County Experience

Join us on October 10, 2020


Welcome to the Out of the Darkness Howard County Experience

While the Howard County 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 invite you to join us for the Howard County Out of the Darkness Experiences. Instead of gathering for a big event, we encourage you to walk to fight suicide on October 10 and 11 with friends and family (following CDC guidelines) in your neighborhood, in parks, or on your treadmill. Wear AFSP or Out of the Darkness T-shirts and make signs in honor of a loved one or to spread hope in your community. If walking is not your thing, do whatever you enjoy – it is YOUR experience. Our Walk Chair Committee is currently working on a virtual Opening Ceremony that everyone will be able to join on their own time on the weekend of October 10. We want to keep you up-to-date with the most current information so be sure to register and like our Facebook Event!

We are always #TogetherToFightSuicide.


For questions, please contact LaShanda Whaley at or 410-430-3701 

Raise $150 by October 25 at midnight and receive and Out of the Darkness Shirt in the mail by early December!

Checks made out to AFSP and money orders (no cash) can be mailed to AFSP Maryland, PO Box 169, Annapolis, MD 21404 - please include an offline donation form.

SHARE your Out of the Darkness Experience using #MDTogetherToFightSuicide and tagging @afspmaryland

MEMORIAL WALL - post a picture and stories of a loved one lost to suicide

Made with Padlet


MY OUT OF THE DARKNESS EXPERIENCE WALL - post pictures and stories of YOUR Out of the Darkness Experience

Made with Padlet


Event Details

Walk Date: 10/10/2020

For more information, please contact:
Contact Name: LaShanda Whaley 
Contact Phone: 410-430-3701 
Contact Email:

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

Get Registered

Having trouble registering?  Click here to view a step-by-step guide.  Refer to page 1 if you’re registering yourself or page 5 if you’re registering someone else through your own account.  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).

Wait ... are we still walking to fight suicide?

YES! The Howard County Out the Darkness Experience is focused on your self-care and creating your own experience. You get to choose the activity, it can be walking, running, reading or cooking - it is your experience . During October, 10th and 11th you choose what time you start, what you do and who joins you (within safe distancing guidelines)!  

If you do go for a walk in your community, make sure to wear and AFSP or Out of the Darkness shirt and bring a sign in honor of a loved one or to spread hope in your community. Take a picture and share it on social media using #MDTogetherToFightSuicide and tagging @afspmaryland. You can also share your pictures on our "My Out of the Darkness Experience" virtual wall.

Why Fundraising?

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, the AFSP Maryland Chapter was able to educate over 3,500 Marylanders on suicide prevention and mental health. 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 fourth annual State Capitol Day in Annapolis and talked to over 30 legislators about how suicide affects Marylanders and how we can start reducing the annual suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.
  • organized 9 Survivor Day events and continue to facilitate Healing Conversations, a peer support program for loss survivors.

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 can also hold your own third-party fundraiser (i.e. paint night, restaurant fundraiser, bake sale etc.) and use those funds raised toward your individual or team goal. Contact us if you need some guidance for your private fundraiser:

This website is designed for online donations. You can mail checks and money orders to AFSP Maryland, PO Box 169, Annapolis, MD 21404 . When you mail checks and money orders, please make sure checks are made out to “American Foundation for Suicide Prevention” or "AFSP" and to include an offline donation form, so funds can be applied correctly. Once registered, be on the lookout for occasional emails from our walk chairs with walk updates, fundraising tips and suicide prevention training opportunities.


If you are a business that would like to support your community by helping save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide, please consider sponsoring the Howard County Out of the Darkness Experience. We know that many businesses are struggling because of the pandemic, so any support for this year’s walk would mean a lot to us. Please make sure to also check out our toolkit for workplaces on how to enhance mental health during uncertain times. Know that we have resources to support you and your staff and that we would be more than happy to schedule a virtual or in-person (once possible) mental health and suicide prevention training with your team. To schedule a training, contact us at

If you are an employee, let your employer know that you will be walking in the Howard County Out of the Darkness Experience and encourage them to form a corporate walk team. Share with them our sponsorship package and let them know that we are offering free suicide prevention trainings for workplaces. To schedule a training, contact us at

Sponsorship levels start at only $250 and your support is 100% tax-deductible. All sponsors receive brand visibility and recognition of their support. For more details, please download and review our sponsorship packet.

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. 

  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 or more by October 25 @ midnight and we will mail you an official Out of the Darkness Walk T-shirt!

Remember, in addition to fundraising online, you can mail checks or money orders (no cash) to AFSP Maryland, PO Box 169, Annapolis, MD 21404.

Activities of Hope and Healing

Memorial Wall

Make sure to upload a picture of a loved one with a note to our virtual "Memorial Wall". When you upload your content, please make sure to follow these safe language guidelines. We will have to approve every single post to make sure all images and texts are safe, therefore it might take a few hours to show on the wall. Thank you for understanding!

Luminary Fundraiser

Shine a light on suicide prevention and bring HOPE to your home. Order 2 luminaries for $25 and 4 for $45. Proceeds will benefit the AFSP Maryland Chapter. This is a limited edition of 250 luminaries. Don't forget to share your luminary with us on social media using #MDTogetherToFightSuicide and tagging @afspmaryland. The luminaries can be purchased here and we will ship them to you.

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


Thank you for your support!