“Take a minute, save a life” is the motto for suicide prevention. The Copperas Cove High School DECA Chapter is scheduled to host its annual suicide prevention walk, in partnership with the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program, this evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Copperas Cove South Park, 2602 Dennis St.

CCHS DECA Officers Nick Hollingsworth and Grayson Avritt are co-hosting the event. Hollingsworth said the walk is needed now more than ever, due to the coronavirus pandemic and feelings of isolation.

“Kids who feel like they are alone will stay at home from school and separate themselves. With our community joining together, we can help make sure everyone has someone to talk to in a time like this,” Hollingsworth said. “We are trying to promote inclusion as much as possible.”

Teens will share their personal testimonials at the event. Walkers will also learn about the impact of suicide during several stops along the lighted walk route. Certified counselors will be present to meet with anyone needing one-on-one support during the event.

The Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program was the founding organization, along with CCHS DECA, of the suicide prevention walk started in 2016. The titleholders provide cardstock butterflies each year for walk attendees to write the names of loved ones and hang them on one of two lighted Trees of Hope.

S. C. Lee Junior High seventh-grader Dorianna Gilbert is co-hosting the event as part of her community service platform as the reigning Preteen Miss Five Hills.

“The Teen Suicide Prevention walk is important for young people because it will raise awareness, teach people to recognize the warning signs, and help reduce suicide among young people,” Gilbert said. “The youth need to know that they have the love and support to help them find hope in life again.

“My platform of service in the pageant is anti-bullying awareness. Bullying and suicide are definitely two different things with different meanings. However, bullying sometimes leads to suicide because it causes isolation. This walk just might save someone from committing suicide.

“I hope this walk will convey to young people the importance of getting help, self-love, and knowing they have a support system to help them.”

The suicide prevention walk is free and is open to the public. The route is stroller and leashed-pet friendly. All participants are asked to bring flashlights to simulate candlelight as they make their way through the walk route.

If you go…

WHAT: 5th Annual Copperas Cove Suicide Prevention & Awareness Walk

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m. opening ceremonies; 8 p.m. walk begins

WHERE: Copperas Cove South Park, 2602 Dennis Street

WHY: Draw awareness to the epidemic of suicide, especially among young people, and create

a community of inclusion

COST: No fee to participate. Walkers are encouraged to bring their own small flashlight or

lighted electric candle. No live flames are allowed in the park.

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