Kayak event returns to shine light on suicide

The Shine a Light on Suicide night kayak event will return to Two Mile Run County Park from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4.

Kayaks will take to the water that evening 4 as dusk settles over Justus Lake at the park. As the darkness deepens, a glowing sign atop the lake’s dam will shout a single message: “Hope.”

Holding the event at night is “symbolizing light that comes out of darkness,” said Paul Weidman, senior program specialist at Venango County Human Services. “We want individuals to feel like they aren’t alone…. Possibly if they are in that dark place, there is light to access those services, supports or resources,” Weidman added.

Weidman said organizers of the event want to get resources into the hands of individuals who need support for themselves or someone they know who is in a dark place.

“The mission that we have in the county is to encourage people that you are not alone. There is hope. There is support. People have your back,” said Weidman.

Shine a Light on Suicide not only brings support and hope to those who may be in dark places, but it gives people who have lost loved ones to suicide a chance to remember them.

“Every year we get feedback from participants saying how much they appreciate the event,” said Weidman.

There will be free food that evening including hot dogs, popcorn and drinks.

There will also be a kayak decorating contest, and the grand prize is a kayak, paddle and life jacket. There will also be smaller prizes and raffles.

“It seems to grow a little each year and gain momentum,” said Weidman. “We see people from out of the county, even people out of state attend.”

Weidman can be contacted for more information at (814) 432-9757.