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The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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December 16, 2021

Prosper takes steps into ‘the light’

Community brings awareness to suicide prevention at ‘Out of the Darkness’ walk
Lauren Clayton
At the annual Out of Darkness Walk on Nov. 4, Jerry Craven, Nate Craven, and Rebecca Craven hold a poster, created by the Rushing cheer team to honor their son, Isaac Craven. Hundreds of people, as well as local businesses and teams came to support suicide prevention. The walk started at 9:30 a.m. in Prosper’s Windsong Ranch.

Different colored beads hung on the wall, each color representing a struggle.

Every person – each student, each parent, each grandparent, each teacher, each child, each community member – had a job to do.

Every person at the “Out of Darkness” walk braved the 51-degree fall weather for a different reason: the loss of a friend or loved one, a personal struggle with mental health, or just to support suicide prevention. 

Guest speakers asked members who came this past Saturday, Nov. 4, to hold up their beaded necklace and to find others who have experiences relating to their own — to show each person that they are not alone.

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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, sponsor for Out of the Darkness Walks across the nation, has created ‘honor beads’ of different colors. According to their mission statement, “each color shows our personal connection to the cause, and helps us identify others who understand our experience.” (AFSP)

The walk, held at Windsong Ranch in Prosper, hosted a street lined with tents offering food, beverages, bracelets, necklaces, and accessories to participants. 

Freshman Adilyn Salome showed her support by attending the “Out the of Darkness Walk” as a member of the PHS Hope Squad.

“I joined Hope Squad because I’ve had friends struggle with mental health and even suicide before, and I know what it’s like to see people struggle and feel like they don’t have a voice,” Salome said. “I want to be able to let them know that they’re here for a reason, that they have a voice, and there’s always somebody to talk to.” 

Many community members, including PHS staff and students, participated in this year’s walk specifically to show their support for the family and friends of Isaac Craven, a PHS student whose life was lost this past spring semester.

“We’re walking today for Isaac Craven,” father Jerry Craven said. “Our son left this world in March, and we love him very much. He’s very loved by a lot of people, and this is a wonderful way to remember him. We feel him with us, and it’s been so supportive and just a really, really good experience.” 

I want to be able to let them know that they’re here for a reason, that they have a voice and there’s always somebody to talk to.”

— Adilyn Salome, freshman

Isaac’s younger brother, Nate Craven, wanted to participate in the walk with his family. 

“[Isaac] was very smart,” Nate said. “He was brilliant. He would create things, and he loved to design things. He wanted to be an engineer.”

As a way to honor Isaac, his family established the Isaac Craven Memorial Scholarship for students who, like Isaac, ‘display gifts in the study of aerospace engineering or graphic arts and design.’

Isaac’s best friend, Nathan Phillips, also participated in the Out of the Darkness walk. His goals included raising awareness about mental illness in adolescent men. 

“I don’t think a lot of people take it seriously until something like this actually happens to you,” Phillips said. “And, that ends up kind of spiraling into like, ‘Oh, wait, this is actually kind of serious.’” 

Pictures of loved ones lost to suicide are displayed upon a wired wall during the “Out of the Darkness” walk. In the very center on a small blue card is a picture of Isaac Craven, a student at PHS who was loved by many. This wall helps families affected by loss remember their loved ones and connect to others with similar experiences. (Lauren Clayton)

Isaac’s mother, Rebecca Craven, said her family considered sharing their story to be important in the fight for suicide prevention.

“[This walk] is just bringing awareness and support of anybody struggling with mental health, and reducing the stigma around suicide, not being afraid to talk about it, and making it a little bit more palatable,” Mrs. Craven said. “It’s important for us to share Isaac’s story because we don’t want anyone else to ever go through what we have.”

According to experts, sharing a first-hand story of how mental illness and suicide have impacted a person can help prevent many more incidents from happening. 

“There’s always going to be something better than the worst, and there will always be something worse than the best,” PHS librarian Stephanie Riley said. “It’s just taking it one day at a time and knowing that it’s not forever – even if it may feel like forever.”

Isaac’s story represents one of many shared at the Out of the Darkness event. The hundreds of people – who gathered to spread the importance of mental health and remember those who were lost – honored those stories. Nate grabbed an orange necklace in remembrance of his brother.

“He was so kind and compassionate,” Nate said. “We were just so lucky to have the time with him that we had.” 

Contributions made to this article by Sofia Ayala, and Erica Deutsch.

This story was originally published on Eagle Nation Online on November 6, 2023.