Suicide is a troubling public health problem that has a devastating and lasting impact on families and communities.  Each suicide victim has a name, each victim matters, each victim leaves an indelible mark. It is estimated that an average of 530 people die by suicide every year in Maryland.

Suicide may often be prevented, and one such effective preventive measure is education and community engagement to improve resilience. Consequently, The BecomeOne Project, based in Calvert County, has organized the inaugural One More Light Suicide and Mental Health Awareness Walk to take place this weekend at Jefferson Patterson Park.

Credit: Kenny Horowitz / Jefferson Patterson Park Museum

“We want to continue to serve our community on issues that truly make a difference. Suicide prevention and mental health issues are at the forefront.  The One More Light Walk is about suicide prevention and mental health awareness, but it is also much more.” Said Anita Santoyo, co-founder, The BecomeOne Project. “The Walk will also be a time to bring comfort to the families who have lost a loved one to suicide and to express to those hurting that they are not alone, that there is help. That they have a community behind them that cares for them as an individual and their well-being.” Santoyo continued.

Antoine White, also with The BecomeOne Project, when asked what inspired him to help organize the Walk, in a heartfelt statement said “Tyler Bland was a young man that I coached.  His death in 2016 has impacted me to my core, and I promised his mother and his family, that I would always be there for them.  My counterpart, Anita Santoyo, has been in contact with Tyler’s mom, Amanda, and it was really their collective efforts that were the impetus for the Walk.  We want to do all that is possible to help prevent any more tragedies like Tyler’s.”

“Gone but not FORGOTTEN” was the phrase used in reference to Bland’s passing.  Simple, yet powerful words that remain as relevant on May 12, 2016, as they do today.  Tyler Bland is not forgotten. The BecomeOne Project is making sure of it.

Photo Sal Icaza/Solomons Island Photography.  Antoine White and Anita Santoyo with The BecomeOne Project.

ABOUT THE EVENT

The BecomeOne Project is the first Suicide and Mental Health Awareness Walk in Calvert County per Santoyo.

The One More Light Suicide and Mental Health Awareness Walk is an evening of remembrance and honor; an awareness of resources as well as the opportunity to connect to others.

Antoine White and Anita Santoyo with The BecomeOne Project. Credit: Sal Icaza / Solomons Island Photography

The Inaugural One More Light Suicide and Mental Health Awareness Walk will take place this upcoming Saturday, September 10, 2022, at Jefferson Patterson Park Museum in St. Leonard, Maryland.  

Registration begins at 6:30 P.M. with the Walk to follow at 7:00 P.M.

Admission is free.  “We want the One More Light Walk to be an offering to the community and one without an admission fee so that all who want to attend can.  We didn’t seek sponsors because we want this to be an offering to our community.  Local restaurants and businesses have come together to contribute goods and signage for the event.  It’s been an amazing thing to see the community come together in support.” Said, Santoyo.

The Walk will be at 7:00 P.M. It is ¾ of a mile along the beautiful paved, wooded path at Jefferson Patterson Park.  It is a walk that all can do.  

The Walk will be followed by a few speakers providing testimonials and inspiration. Emily Moler, Calvert H.S. graduate, and soloist will perform to close out the event.  

Dessert and drinks will be provided.

For questions and concerns please email thebecomeoneproject@gmail.com

You can register for the event at https://linktr.ee/becomeoneproject or through Facebook at https://fb.me/e/1Sip5z7KE

ABOUT THE BECOMEONE PROJECT

The BecomeOne Project is part of EvokePurpose, Inc., a non-profit fundraising organization based in Calvert County, MD.

The BecomeOne Project works with youth in our community to create change through conversation.  To encourage discussion and dialogue to facilitate removing any stigma or barriers.

The focus is on projects that promote mental health awareness for all, regardless of political affiliation, demographics, or religious views.

For more information on The BecomeOne Project, please visit our website at becomeoneproject.com or Facebook: BecomeOne Project.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741 to reach a Crisis Text Line counselor.


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