Waynesburg University walks Out of Darkness

Video courtesy of WCTV, Rachel Pellegrino

Waynesburg University hosted its annual Out of Darkness Walk Sunday, April 10. 

With over 200 people in attendance, the ongoing fundraiser exceeded its goal of $5,000 reaching $6,800 on Sunday. All of the proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and the fundraiser will last until June 30.

“It’s just been really important to continue to raise awareness in the community,” Adrienne Tharp, director of the Center for Service Leadership said. “Suicide has been one of the leading causes of death amongst young people and this is a prime group of students to target and raise awareness for mental health.”

The cause was important to several people’s hearts including Allen Miller, Waynesburg staff member, who lost his 18-year-old son, Nyjel Miller, about a year ago.

Nyjel Miller, as well as everyone else who’s taken their life, are the reason Allen Miller walks.

“I told my son that I would never let him be forgotten so I thought this is a way to do that because there’s too many young people hurting, in trouble, not getting help, taking their lives. I have to do something,” Allen Miller said. 

Allen Miller emphasized that it’s not just young people that are lost, it is everybody. 

“It’s taking the toughest of the tough,” he said. “It’s taking everyone.”

This is why, according to Allen Miller, participants need to spread awareness and get people the help they need. 

“If this happened to me all over again with my son, I still wouldn’t know how to help him,” Allen Miller said.

In addition to the walk around Waynebsurg’s campus, the event featured a number of organizations that provided information and resources on suicide and mental health. Some of which included community groups such as Greene County Mental Health and campus groups such as Peer Leaders.

“It’s just been important to me to continue to provide resources and just provide different things for them to be connected and know that they aren’t alone and that there are people out there that care about them,” Tharp said.

Even though the walk is over, Allen Miller continues the promise to his son through the “Nyjel Paul Miller ‘Tears in Heaven’ Endowed Scholarship Fund.” 

To donate to the scholarship fund visit Waynebsurg’s “Give to WU” page on their website and designate your gift to “Nyjel Paul Miller ‘Tears in Heaven’ Endowed Scholarship Fund”.To donate to Waynesburg’s Out of Darkness Fundraiser visit https://supporting.afsp.org.