Daemen University has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to host the inaugural Walk for Jenny at noon tomorrow, Oct. 20, in honor of former Daemen student Jennifer “Jenny” McAlmont who passed away in 2014.
During her time at Daemen, Jenny served as a Daemen tour guide and was a member of the step team. She is remembered for her infectious smile and the way she always lit up the room.
“This event is driven by the close connection between Daemen University and Jenny’s family,” said Ashley Frazier, director of the Daemen University CHIP Center, and lead organizer of the event. “Our mission is to bring hope to those affected by suicide and promote the importance of mental health. We plan on having this as an annual opportunity for the campus to come together and put a larger priority on fighting stigma related to mental health.”
The Walk for Jenny will also serve as a fundraiser for the AFSP with a goal of raising $2,000, explained Frazier, who hopes that at least one individual from every Daemen student organization, athletic team, academic department, and administrative office will participate in the walk.
“We are challenging our campus to come together and collectively prioritize mental health,” noted Frazier. “Students come to Daemen because they are not a number and there are a lot of dedicated staff here to support them. It’s a true testament to Daemen as an institution.”
Participants will meet in the Wick Center’s Alumni Lounge for registration between 11 a.m. and noon. Jenny’s mother, Lois Foster, will share some words before participants embark on the half mile walk to the Jennifer “Jenny” McAlmont Memorial Reflection Garden, located between campus apartments 101 and 76.
Each participant will be given a purple flower to take along the 10-15 minute walk, which they can place at the memorial.
“Jenny’s favorite color was purple,” said Frazier. “Once we arrive at her memorial, we will release balloons of different shades of purple as a way of sending something special to Jenny. We’ve taken this to a whole new special and intentional place.”
Following the ceremony, participants can return to Alumni Lounge for light refreshments and an opportunity to connect with CHIP Center staff, as well as a representative of Crisis Services of Buffalo and Erie County.
“We want to help everyone feel comfortable and welcome to talk to someone. We encourage students in need to use our mental health services on campus and beyond,” said Frazier.
Donate to the AFSP as part of the Walk for Jenny.