The Center for Community Engaged Learning hosted its second annual Out of the Darkness Walk on Sunday, April 8, raising $11,835 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP).

Coordinator Izzi Proia was pleased with the turnout for the event, despite the unseasonably cold weather.

“I feel great,” Proia said. “I think it was a great day for people who have been struggling lately, and I’m really excited for next year.”

The events schedule featured speeches from SNHU community leaders as well as outside guest speakers. Brittany Chasse, the USA National Miss New Hampshire, spoke about the importance of this cause and her personal commitment to suicide prevention and awareness.

“I have a personal history with suicide,” Chasse said. “When I was in high school, I was actually hospitalized for [a] suicide attempt. I wanted to come here today to let people know that they’re not alone and so I can support other people. I want to make this my personal platform going forward so I can spread awareness and to bring attention to suicide prevention.”

Other speakers and guests included Wellness Health Promotion Director Christyn Bergquist, SNHU Military Advisor Heather Zyliak, alumna Emily Paquin and Linda Calandrella, mother of Nick Carey (’14).

Zyliak also works with ASFP New Hampshire, beginning after the loss of her sister-in-law to suicide. While sharing her story, Zyliak encouraged attendees to learn more and continue finding ways to speak out about a cause you are passionate about. “If people want to get involved, they can start by going to afsp.org where you will be able to find a chapter in your state, see other volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved.

With 188 participants, Center for Community Engaged Learning staff and volunteers were happy to share this event at SNHU once more. “I’m excited to see how much it has grown from last year to this year,” said CCEL student worker and Alternative Break Coordinator Ryan Bailey (’20). “Next year will be even bigger and better, and we couldn’t be happier.”

Megan Palmer
Megan is an alumna of SNHU, formally the Editor-in-Chief of the Penmen Press. She was an English Language and Literature major with minors in communication and education, and she dedicated herself to the growth and success of SNHU's student-led newspaper. In addition to the Penmen Press, Megan also worked in the Deborah L. Coffin's Women Center, conducted extended research projects with SNHU's club for undergraduate research, and sang with her barbershop chorus.