SIX NATIONS – Spread hope across the nation.
That’s what Michele General and the team behind HOPE Clan want to see happen between now and next June. Raising awareness of suicide and mental health issues within the community by walking the length of a different road on Six Nations monthly to deliver HOPE Clan templates.
A HOPE Clan template is part of a circle of support that you develop by using the acronym HOPE. H stands for home, O for organization, P for phone and E for emergency 911. The idea being that you designate 10 emergency contacts that you could reach out to, at any time you are feeling sad, depressed, suicidal or simply are in need of a friend.
The first nine contacts should be a mix of good minded friends and family that you ask to be a part of your HOPE Clan and organizations or professionals that you will turn to in trying times.
“You should call 911 at any time your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger,” said General. “People that are hurting shouldn’t feel alone all the time. If people use this plan there will always be someone to talk to or contact before things get taken too far.”
The first HOPE Clan walk took place on Sunday Mar. 6. The small group covered a large portion of Ohsweken, handing out templates door-to-door. By next June General wants to have covered the entirety of Six Nations, all by walking.
“It was a quick, good walk,” said General. “Finished at 10.am.” The walk being slightly more than 5.5 kilometres (3.5 miles).
She said that they walk to visibly, physically and financially support community life promotion and suicide prevention initiatives. Community members can become ‘walkers’ for free, but those that wish to contribute financially, there is a $20 registration fee they can pay that enters them into a draw prize at the end of the walk.
The walks are going to take place during hot summer months and several of them are great distances. For those that decide to participate here are some ways to prepare and items to bring along:
Filled out registration forms, a water bottle, comfortable walking shoes, a walking stick, appropriate attire for the current weather, sunglasses and sunscreen, cell-phone or music player, insect repellent and anything that will help you complete the walk safely once you’ve started it.
The organization asks that participants keep in mind that the walks may possess an element of danger like dogs or careless drivers.
For more information on HOPE Clan, future walks, dates, times and locations visit, hopeclan.ca or search HOPE Clan on Facebook.