The walk will bring together students from each of our campuses to a central gathering at the Harrisonburg Farmers’ Market for music, speakers, refreshments and activities. In addition, Julie Hersh, mental health advocate and author of “Struck by Living, From Depression to Hope,” will share her story.

Students Fold Cranes for Hope

Courtesy WHSV-TV3, Mar. 21, 2012

Valley colleges and universities are uniting to fight depression and suicide, and they are doing it in a special way.

Eastern Mennonite University is using origami to raise awareness for suicide and depression.

As an EMU student, Tessa Gerberich, folded one of her many origami cranes, she was reminded of why she is making them.

“The subject is one that is pretty dear to my heart. When I was 13, a cousin that I was very, very close to committed suicide,” said Gerberich.

She’s part of a group trying to make a 1000 cranes for an event called “Walk for Hope.” The idea is to raise awareness for depression and suicide.

“The legend is that if you fold a thousand paper cranes, you can have a wish. This wish is typically connected to health and long life,” said Suzy Hostetler, a representative with Walk for Hope.

Every Valley university is taking part to hit that goal, but students at EMU are getting a head start before the event next week.

The cranes came in many shapes and sizes, and it all went to the same causes.

That was what made doing this so special for the students involved: especially for Gerberich, who was reminded of a friend going through depression as she folded.

“She always really likes when I fold her cranes and send them to her. So I guess I think a lot about her a lot as I do this. So it does mean something to me,” said Gerberich.

One thing organizers love is all the different schools coming together for one issue.

“It’s been a lot of really good work together: which has been a really neat thing to see. To my knowledge, this has not happened with all the schools doing something like this together,” said Hostetler.

Walk for Hope will be held at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Harrisonburg on Saturday, March 31st from 9 a.m. to noon.