It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse and throughout the parish. Several holiday events have already been held and more will occur this week and in the rest of the month leading up to day set aside to celebrate Christ’s birth -- the greatest gift of all. {Photo by Raymond L. Daye}

Christmas events in Avoyelles December 6-9

Upcoming Christmas events this week include:

Cadets of the Louisiana Youth Challenge Program at Camp Beauregard led the 5K “Walk Into the Light” in downtown Marksville on Oct. 27. {Photos by Raymond L. Daye}

Those who have lost friends and family members to suicide participated in a balloon launch in their memory.

A sign explains the “beads of hope,” signifying how suicide has affected participants of the Walk Into the Light" event.

A “wall of memory” honoring those who died from suicide was among the features of the Oct. 27 “Walk Into the Light” suicide prevention awareness event.

Ada Borne, 7, of Cottonport enjoys the “bouncy house” with other young visitors to SaveCenla’s Walk Into the Light event.

[right] Rachel O’Connor of Hessmer was busy adorning the faces of young -- and some older -- visitors to the Walk Into the Light. One was 3-year-old Kyndal Redmon of Plaucheville, with her mother, Jessica Bean looking on.

9-year-old Natalie Pitre (right) of Fifth Ward has her face painted by Rachel O'Connor of Hessmer during the Walk Into the Light event on Oct. 27..

The first group of walkers in SaveCenla's 5K Walk Into the Light nears the finish line of the event to raise awareness of suicide prevention and mental health services in and around Avoyelles Parish.

SaveCenla Co-Founder Angela Dixon of Dupont (forefront) and Phillip Davis of Marksville (background) both spoke about the loss of sons to suicide.

Avoyelles School District Superintendent Blaine Dauzat spoke about efforts in the schools to address issues of bullying, suicide prevention and mental health.

Rev. John Wiltse, pastor of St. Mary’s Assumption Catholic Church in Cottonport, offered words of encouragement to those experiencing emotional stress. Those who have been trained in the ASIST (in green shirts) --Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training -- were also in attendance to offer help to those who are or have considered suicide and family members of those struggling with mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

SaveCenla holds 2nd annual Walk Into the Light

The message was loud and clear: “You are not alone. People care about you. Help is available.”



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