Downtown Kent gets covered in chalk for Students Save Lives chalk walk

Students at Save Lives chalk walk. (From right to left) Maura Reali, SMFHS student; McKenna Dunn, SMFHS student; Gabriel Goding, Kent State psychology major; Madi Dunn, SMFHS student; and Rheagan Gabanyie, SMFHS student.

Chloe Zofchak Reporter

Colorful pictures and powerful messages found themselves all over the sidewalk in Downtown Kent Sunday morning to raise awareness for suicide prevention. 

Beginning at 9 a.m., Julia Hallgren, a local high school senior and organizer of the event, spread buckets of chalk and accompanying flyers all around town. 

Surrounded by friends and family, Hallgren’s event came to fruition around her and online through a virtual walk made available due to COVID-19. 

“I have seen people that I know stop by,” Hallgren said, “and they’ve been really supportive of me.” 

The buckets of chalk were placed randomly on the sidewalk as well as in front of businesses. Tree City Coffee, Grazers, Townhall 2, Troy Grille and the Mental Health & Recovery Board were some of the many businesses who had chalk in front of the store. 

Groups of people took the opportunity to draw inspirational messages and pictures. 

“It’s a good way to bring people together and focus on mental health,” said Rheagan Gabanyie, a student at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. “Sometimes it is stigmatized and it’s hard to get help because many people don’t understand.” 

Hallgren expressed her excitement for the event and showed gratitude toward the Women Achieving Venerable Eminence chapter at Kent State. 

“They’ve been really great,” Hallgren said. “They raised a lot of money and have been really supportive of this event.”

Hallgren hopes that once she is a full-time student at Kent State to either join a club or even start her own club to make the Students Save Lives chalk walk an annual event. 

Chloe Zofchak covers the City of Kent. Contact her at [email protected].