Members of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at Joliet Junior College are raising awareness about suicide and will unveil a permanent place of reflection on campus this month.
Darkness Into Light will include a presentation inside the Black Box Theatre at Main Campus, followed by the dedication of a concrete bench, plaque and mosaic to remember loved ones lost to suicide.
“Suicide isn’t just something that you see or hear in the news media, this is a real thing happening to real people,” said Joseph Lyle, president of the college’s PTK chapter. “So this event is a way to bring light to that entire situation.”
The project was spearheaded by previous PTK members, and continued over the years through various fundraisers and coordination with community partners.
Joliet cement business Unit Step prepared a 600-pound bench, which has been installed near the Picnic Grove section of Main Campus. The mosaic was designed by Kylie Jump, the chapter’s vice president of public relations, and is being created by Joliet artist Mike Zagar. These items, along with a plaque, will be unveiled at the dedication event.
“While it’s a difficult topic there’s a lot of help available for people with these kinds of problems. We hope this event will make everyone a little bit less afraid to talk about it,” said Marlo Avers, vice president of outreach for PTK.
Funding is still sought to cover the cost of the bench. You can make a donation through PTK’s Gofundme page.
Marc Kaufman, JJC assistant professor of English and PTK faculty advisor, said the group is proud to offer this gift to the campus.
Darkness Into Light takes place at two separate times on Wednesday, Sept. 26; at 2 p.m. and again at 5:30 p.m. Joliet Councilwoman Jan Quillman is scheduled to speak briefly at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Both begin at the Black Box Theatre in K-Building, and then move outside for the bench dedication. Community members and those who’ve been impacted by suicide are encouraged to attend. There will also be a candlelight vigil ceremony after sunset, held at 7 p.m.
Phi Theta Kappa is the international honors society for two-year colleges. Students qualify by earning a 3.5 or above in college level courses. The JJC chapter has earned the organization’s top level five star distinction, reflecting its yearly research and service projects; one on campus and another involving the wider community.
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