Rollins Staff Member Organizes Orlando's First Suicide Prevention Walk

January 28, 2008

On Saturday, Feb. 9, Department of Psychology Administrative Assistant Vicki Long will be walking in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) Out of the Darkness Community Walk at Baldwin Park in memory of her father, Marvin Branch. Every year across the country 117 such walks are held. This will be the first one in Orlando and is being organized by Long.

So far, more than 40 Rollins faculty, staff and students have signed up to walk in the event. Several student organizations will also be participating.

Her personal experience resulted in a personal mission to spread the word and reach out to students and the community. In 2004, Long’s father committed suicide at the age of 73. “Moving forward is not easy, but it is necessary to help take away some of the heartache and get on with living,” Long said.

When Long saw something in a newspaper about an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walk in New York, she decided to try to organize one in Orlando. “My father was really into nature so I wanted a location to walk around that reflected that; I choose to have the walk around the lake in Baldwin Park,” Long said.

The goal of this event is to raise money for suicide prevention and to raise awareness about suicide. “This is something people don’t talk about, and these events are to help people better understand issues related to suicide,” said Long.

Both Rollins and UCF students will be participating in the walk, and more than 200 people have registered for it so far.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. on February 9. Visit to register.

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