Oak Knoll Mental Health Walk Raises $9K for Suicide Prevention
Oak Knoll juniors Lauren White ’25 and Abigail Cirillo ’25 raised nearly $9000.00 for the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide during a community-wide Mental Health Awareness Walk on September 16, 2023.
“When organizing the event, Abby and I knew we wanted the walk to be in September for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month,” explained White. “The impactful message of the walk was extremely important to us, so we were determined to share it with our community.”
Their initial goal was to raise $5,000 for the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. Between the 75 people who came to the walk and the 82 people who donated, they succeeded in raising $8,832. The day of the walk, participants followed the 1.2 mile Green Village Trail Loop next to Oak Knoll’s Chatham Fields athletic complex.
“We were overjoyed by the amount of support the faculty showed us on the walk,” Cirillo said.
“Whether through a donation or coming to the walk, everyone helped in making a momentous difference toward spreading awareness and, furthermore, prevention,” White said. “Advocation for teen suicide prevention is an imperative cause, and by supporting our walk wholeheartedly, the entire community made a lasting impact. Abby and I aim to make the Mental Health Walk an annual event, and we look forward to what the future holds.”
The students praised Stacey Donavan, of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, who attended and spoke about teen suicide prevention and explained how we all have roles to play in caring for and protecting our loved ones.
White and Cirillo worked in conjunction with the Upper School HOPE Committee (Helping Other People Everywhere) to promote the walk. The HOPE Committee assists students who are moved to organize a fundraiser or drive to benefit agencies or organizations with a mission to help people in need — both locally and globally.