Copperas Cove Cove DECA hosting third annual suicide prevention walk
Special to Leader-Press
COPPERAS COVE, TX (October 29, 2019)—“Take a minute, save a life.” That is the motto for suicide prevention and it only takes a minute to say hello to someone else and let him know that he matters. The Copperas Cove High School DECA Chapter has combined its Start with Hello campaign with its annual suicide prevention walk scheduled Nov. 2, 5:30 p.m. at Copperas Cove South Park, 2502 Dennis Street.
CCHS DECA co-hosted the first event three years ago drawing a crowd in excess of 300 people. DECA member Alexandra Hollingsworth worked with the event last year and has a personal reason for returning to head the project this year.
“About three years ago, I attempted suicide,” Hollingsworth said. “My life was in shambles, and I felt like nobody cared about me, and I sure enough didn’t care about myself. I felt as if life was not worth living. I went through a lot. But with the help of my family and peers really breaking down my walls, I flourished. I went from being sad every day and having no purpose, to being able to share my story with people in need and feel as if I was put on earth for this very reason.”
Hollingsworth and other teens will share their personal testimonials at the event. Walkers will also learn about the impact of suicide during several stops along the walk route. Certified counselors will be present to meet with anyone needing one-on-one support during the event.
DECA member Mackenzie Cobe relocated to Copperas Cove as a military child. Knowing no one in the school, Cobe understands what it feels like to be an outsider.
“I moved around a lot when I was younger and never felt like I fit in anywhere,” Cobe said. “Of course, as a child, I made friends somewhat easily. But in middle and high school, it was kind of hard to do. I joined this project to help other kids and young adults feel less isolated.”
Excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent and suicidal behavior, said Hollingsworth.
“Studies have shown that chronic loneliness increases the risk of early death by 14 percent. Young people that feel isolated can become victims of bullying, violence, and/ or depression. As a result, many pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development, and may choose to hurt themselves or others,” Hollingsworth said.
The event is free but participants are asked to register at Eventbrite to ensure the DECA chapter has plenty of lighted candles.
Cobe said combining the Start with Hello program with the suicide prevention walk was a natural pairing.
“The Start with Hello Walk will teach our community the importance of inclusion and bring awareness to the permanent effects it can have on others,” Cobe said. “Our goal is to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within our community.”
IF YOU GO -
WHAT: 3RD Annual Copperas Cove Suicide Prevention Walk
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 2, 4 p.m. registration begins; 5:30 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. Limited number of candles will be available, first come, first served.
All participants are encouraged to sign up through Eventbrite.
CONTACT: For more information, contact CCHS DECA Adviser Charlotte Heinze at (254) 548-2534 or firstname.lastname@example.org. CCHS DECA can also be messaged through Facebook and Twitter. The event is also located through Eventbrite.