Cold weather didn’t stop Riverton High HOPE walkFeb 26, 2020 11:49AM ● By Stephanie Yrungaray
A crowd gathers before the Riverton High School HOPE walk (Photo courtesy of Riverton City)
By Stephanie Yrungaray | [email protected]
Frigid temperatures and biting winds didn’t stop more than 500 people from showing support at the Riverton High School HOPE (Hold on. Persuade. Empower) Walk on Feb. 1. The walk raises awareness for suicide prevention and signifies support for anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Held annually on the Saturday following Riverton High School’s HOPE Week, this year’s walk started at Southland Elementary school, went down 12600 South and ended at the Riverton Spirit Corner. Attendees had a moment of silence, released yellow balloons and donned yellow gloves, hats, scarves and beaded necklaces to show solidarity and support to fellow students and their community.
“I think people in high school are going through a lot,” said Riverton senior and HOPE squad member Malia Warden. “There are so many things happening in our lives. We all get in our heads so much that I think it is important to know that we’re all here for each other, and it really does get better if we are in it together.”
Riverton High Senior Hayden Sargent said he was at the HOPE walk to stand in honor of multiple friends who have committed suicide.
“I want people who see us walking to understand that there is no reason that they should be afraid to talk to us,” Sargent said. “We will have nothing but love and support for them.”
Chris Madsen came to the HOPE walk with his wife and children to show support for his younger brother.
“He suffers from depression and has had a few times he has felt hopeless so we wanted to walk for him today,” said Madsen. “It’s exciting to know there are this many people out here ready to show support.”
Riverton High School HOPE squad president Timothy Horner said people who are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts should reach out for help.
“Suicide doesn’t mean that you are stopping the problem from getting worse; it prevents the possibility of the problem ever getting better,” Horner said. “There is help for you. We want you to know we love you and care about you.”
This year’s HOPE walk was sponsored by Riverton City, Riverton High School and Intermountain Riverton Hospital.