A Student Publication of Lorain County Community College

Students win nine Excellence in Journalism awards

Oscar Rosado Editor-in-Chief Six LCCC students received nine awards from the Press Club of Cleveland’s 41st Annual 2019 All Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards banquet at the House of Blues on June 7. President of the Press Club of Cleveland,…

LCCC awards 2,436 degrees at 2019 commencement

Oscar Rosado Editor-in-Chief “It’s been a long journey, four years in the making,” Lorain resident Omar Vargas said after receiving his Associate of Arts degree through Lorain County Community College’s College Credit Plus (CCP) program at LCCC’s 55th Commencement ceremony…

College sets 10,000 diplomas-degrees goal by 2025

Special to The Collegian (Elyria, OH, April 18, 2019) The Lorain County Community District Board of Trustees adopted the College’s new strategic plan that declares a bold goal of 10,000 individuals earning a degree or certificate by 2025. The plan…

Path to bachelor’s from LCCC to CSU

LCCC and CSU had made an agreement to have students start their college path off at LCCC and graduate with their Bachelor’s degree at CSU through a new program called UP Express CSU initiative. The program is an extension of…

New club promotes social connections

Learning Differences Club Founder, Michael Butorac and Adviser, Kelly McLaughlin discuss plans for the new club.

Erin Dweik

Staff Writer

A college campus can be a lonely place for students. Associate of Arts and Sciences major, Michael Butorac felt this loneliness. Then, he experienced a tipping point. The isolation pushed him out of his comfort zone. Butorac decided to change this solitary situation. His idea was to bring people together by starting a new student club. The result is LCCC’s Learning Differences Club. 

Butorac is not alone in identifying isolation on a college campus. In 2016, USA Today reported that 61% of college students admitted to feeling lonely in the past year. 

Young and lonely

A 2013 Yale College Council Report on mental health indicated that more than half of Yale undergraduates sought mental health treatment while students there. 

This may explain why “Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever” is “Happiness”.  A New York Times article pointed to the stress that many student’s feel about the pressure to achieve. Also, the American College Health Association’s Spring 2015 assessment found that 67 percent of struggling college students do not seek treatment about their issues. 

Loneliness is not only a problem for college students. Cigna’s 2018 U.S. Loneliness Index described Gen Z, ages 18-22, as the loneliest generation yet. Millennials, ages 23-37, are the second most lonely group. 

Community college has its own loneliness contributors. It is commuter-based so there is less interaction than at dorm-based institutions. Add in learning differences that require extra studying effort and it is easier to miss assignment deadlines and be short on exam study time.  Don’t forget work, family obligations and that a community college student may be struggling with  trauma, money problems, housing insecurity or food issues.  

Help is here

Kelly McLaughlin, 

learning specialist in Accessibility Services, and adjunct faculty in Psychology, is 

familiar with students who don’t fit the traditional academic learning model. She helps students optimize their academic potential through testing flexibility, interpreting, note-taking services and assistive technology needs, including e books. Situations are customized.  

McLaughlin, also the Learning Differences Club advisor, emphasizes that this new club can be, “that shining light, the light in a society that can be dark and alone.” Refer to the accompanying “Helpful Student Resources” list for additional support information.

Students receive support

Students who have learning disabilities are supported through LCCC’s Accessibility Services. Kirsten Wall, staff assistant in the department said, “It’s exciting and humbling to be part of a team that works to help students navigate their barriers in order to pursue their education.”  

Students who have a physical or non-physical issue fill out paperwork to see if they qualify for services. Accommodations apply to a sudden broken ankle that requires a wheelchair and a temporary parking hang-tag.  A long-term anxiety diagnosis that requires testing accommodations or a smart pen to help with note-taking is also available. Faculty are required to follow provisions in the student’s plan.  

Butorac envisions that the new club will welcome all types of learners and help them to “soar, feel happy inside, develop coping skills and talk with friends easier by providing information, speakers, activities and friendship.” 

Butorac’s mission includes changing social norms about learning styles and addressing loneliness. Dr. Jeff Linkenbach, director and chief 

research scientist at The Montana Institute, studies what the new club hopes to achieve. His research supports the goal of being, “…leader(s) seeking to change perceptions, behaviors and outcomes across organizations and communities, as well as by (being) individuals looking to fulfill their own potential.”


LCCC named first in nation for student success

Kerri Klatt

Lorain County Community College was recognized as the leading community college in the nation for Excellence in Student Success by The American Association of Community Colleges, AACC, on May 1, 2018. LCCC was amongst six finalists recognized. “We are passionate and persistent,” said Tracy Green, vice president of strategic and institutional development at LCCC, “And this was great validation coming from the AACC, because they are the voice of the community college.”
The AACC located in Washington D.C. is an advocacy organization that provides a voice for community colleges nationwide and creates initiatives to promote recognition and advocacy for community colleges. The AACC represents 1,250 two-year colleges with more than 12 million students nationally.

         The AACC reviews data and practices of the college to gain results. “It is the how and what have you accomplished,” said Green, “They (AACC) look at student completion, students whom graduate earning a degree or certificate within a 150% duration of time, persistence which include students continuing education, and transfers,” said Green, “Our success rate is 60% where the state average is at a 51%.” LCCC is also recognized amongst top colleges in the state of Ohio according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

“LCCC is top in the state of Ohio for those three categories as well,” said Green. The commitment to student success and fostering student success is LCCC’s mission. “To have that validated at a national level and be top in the country for excellence in student success is validation that we are on the right track,” She said. “But it also says a lot about our students; We can only do so much as an institution and our students have the grit.”




UP programs extend to Ridge Campus

By Jay Sigal

LCCC’s University Partnership will offer classes at the LCCC Ridge campus beginning fall 2018. Classes will be held at the 45,000 square foot advanced technology training center located at 32121 Lorain Road in North Ridgeville. “Our goal is to be the very best within this sector of higher education,” said Dr. John Crooks, associate provost and dean of the partnership program.

Students attending LCCC can, through the University Partnership program, complete their required studies and receive an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree, all without having to leave the county.

The primary teaching focus will be IT and advanced nursing technologies. The Ridge campus boasts a technologically advanced IT infrastructure as well as a nursing simulation facility. Students enrolled in these programs will be introduced to the collaboration between the two.

Additionally, the University of Toledo will offer their entire classroom content, including their new Project Management curriculum, through the LCCC Ridge campus.

The University of Akron will also have significant classes offered.

There are 57 bachelor’s degree programs in place as well as 11 master’s degree programs. A doctorate degree in Education is available through LCCC and the BGSU partnership. There are 14 certificates, endorsements, and licensure programs available as well.

Ohio’s first Applied Bachelor of Science degree in microelectronic manufacturing is also available through the universities partnerships at LCCC.

The LCCC University Partnership program was established by vote of the citizens of Lorain county.  Created in 1995, the mission is to make such degrees available to Lorain county residents desirous of pursuing higher level degree programs.



The Collegian wins six Press Club awards

Kerri Klatt

The Collegian has won six awards  in the 2018 Excellence in Journalism contest organized by Press Club of Cleveland.
The awards recognized articles that were written during the 2017 calendar year. Six student journalists and Collegian staff members took awards, which represented the best in journalism throughout the state of Ohio. The awards banquet was held at The House of Blues on June 1.

Logan Mencke, editor-in-chief of The Collegian from August 2017 until May 2018, won for Best Online Report as well as Best Print Feature Story for the student run media for a two-year school. The article that was recognized, “No ‘right’ turn on campus”, created mixed feelings for Mencke. “I’m proud that my article brought more recognition to LCCC,” said Mencke, “but I also feel I was capable of so much more.”

Mencke took first place for the Best Print Feature Story and second place for the Best Online Report. The Collegian’s staff are LCCC students who often have full-time jobs while working at The Collegian. Which was the case for Mencke. “When I was editor-in-chief,” he said, “I had a full-time job where I worked an average of 50-55 hours a week.”

Matt Gergely and Alejandra Maria Rey, two journalism students, took first place for the article, “Hunger-Free LCCC college (campus) launches campaign against hunger insecurity”. This article was categorized as the Best Print Newspaper for student run media at a two-year school. Rey was excited to be recognized amongst mentors. “The event was full of interesting and inspiring people,” said Rey, “It is amazing to see that what we are working on is being recognized by people who have done this for years.” Rey is an international student from Bucaramanga, Columbia. “I would like to keep going with this career path,” said Rey, “Because the truth can be uncomfortable for some, but it is necessary.”

Krisitn Hohman, former editor-in-chief from March 2016 until April 2017, won second place for her article titled “Coping with poverty”. The article was recognized in the Best Print Feature Story category. “I have been a part of winning eight Press Club Awards since I have started at The Collegian,” said Hohman. She had won two awards at this year’s Press Club event. The award recognized at The Collegian as well as an award while presently working at The Chronicle Telegram. “The recognition has helped motivate me to continue to work hard to become a better writer and reporter,” said Hohman. “I hope it continues to encourage me both journalistically and ethically while I finish off my degree and search for employment,” She said.

Mark Perez-Krywany, sports editor, was also recognized for the article titled “11 Commodores grab OCCAC All-Academic Team honors”. This story took second place for the Best Print Sports Story.

Kerri Klatt, staff writer for The Collegian in spring and fall 2017, placed first in the category of Best Online Report. Klatt’s winning article was titled “Opioid crisis hits home”.



Students applaud LCCC at graduation ceremony

Jay Sigal
A Correspondent


A student celebrates after receiving her diploma from LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D.        Submitted photo.

Six-hundred-fifty students became Lorain County Community College graduates when they crossed the stage of the Ewing Center Gymnasium to receive their diplomas from Dr. Marcia Ballinger, president of Lorain County Community College, on May 12. They were part of a total of 2,179 students who graduated with associates degrees or certificates.

“Graduates, reaching this milestone means that you made the bold decision to invest in yourself,” Ballinger said in her address. “Who you were when you started here may not be who you are today and that is the beauty of the discovery process.”

Among those present to receive their degrees was Adel Sliman, who collected his Associate of Applied Business diploma. Sliman commented, “If not for attending LCCC, I would still be struggling to discover where I wanted to go with my life after high school. I wasn’t a great student, used to be a slacker in high school. I didn’t graduate with honors or any of that stuff.  Not only has LCCC helped me to focus on my career choice, it has also helped me establish my foothold on the pathway. Through the summer I will be starting full time at SportSoft Inc. where I interned. In the fall I plan to begin my bachelor’s degree program.”

A cross-section of the packed Field House at the graduation ceremony. Submitted photo.

Similar views were expressed by Brian Holland who received his certificate in Computer Maintenance and Networking. “I’ve been attending for two years and I’m not done yet. I’m going to be attending for another two years studying for a degree in cyber-security. Attending LCCC helped me to realize that I needed to get busy and work harder than I was used to doing. I needed to become more responsible. I realized that I needed to have a set goal in my life. I am next looking forward to receiving my A+ Certification,” Holland said.

Donald Williams, who received an Associate of Applied Business degree, had this to say, “This has been a two-year journey for me. I came through the JVS partnership program and transferred to the culinary arts program, and that program here at LCCC just fit me because it was the local college and it was close to home. Each of my culinary instructors helped me to have an extraordinary experience while attending classes.”

Underlining the importance of continuing education, and an engaged member of the law enforcement workforce for a number of years, Ditanuia Geiger-Baker received her Associates of Physical Science degree and had this to say about her experiences, “I am a security officer at Lorain High School and will be using my degree to further my efforts in that direction. I already have my degree in Police Science. While attending classes here at LCCC I have made some wonderful and close friendships and gotten to know some great people. All the instructors had a lot to offer and I thought their knowledge and expertise was outstanding. Attending LCCC was very a very affordable way to continue my education.”

Ishmael Rodriguez walked away from this semester with an Associate of Applied Science degree. He said, “I may be attending classes in the future. Right now, I am working as a school bus driver and mechanic. The staff and instructors were really helpful.”

Heather Ware was particularly enthusiastic having completed her course of studies, being awarded an Associate of Business in Culinary Arts degree. Ware excitedly shared the following, “I really enjoy the atmosphere and the environment here at LCCC. The instructors were great and LCCC is a very affordable way to pursue your education. I have been a student since 2013. I am continuing my education by pursuing an additional degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, for which I have only two classes left. My ultimate career choice is to become a pastry chef and own and operate my own bakery. Attending classes at LCCC has helped to discover my passion for food. My experiences with my instructors will be something I will take with me everywhere I go.”

Yato Segun, a 1980 Olympics team boxer, received an Associate of Arts – Universal Studies degree. He expressed his anticipation for a change of direction in his career path as the result of receiving his degree. “It is my intention to eventually become a social worker and focus on youth that have become involved in the system. I hope to complete my current studies at which time I will receive a degree in Applied Science. I am also taking two summer courses. You can never be too old to continue your education. I am a prison project coordinator for the NAACP and I wanted a stronger foundation for myself and that is why I pursued more education through Lorain County Community College. My time here at LCCC has been a great and rewarding experience,” Segun said.


Workshop raises awareness of abusive relationships

Maria Alejandra Rey

During the Escalation workshop on April 6, a One Love Foundation initiative showed case the importance of recognizing the initial signs of an abusive relationship, in a movie with a real life scenario in which a college student’s relationship escalated from sweet to abusive, and how the signs went unnoticed by her close circle of friends and her family, until the relationship becomes deadly. The presentation and discussion was led by two student senators; Vice President Kim Weber and University Partnership Representative Felicia Densmore. The goal of the workshop was to highlight the importance of virtual boundaries and seeking help, as well as giving the resources to do so.

“It’s important for college students to know about this after all the statistic show that they are of the most affected groups,” said Weber. One in three women, 36 percent, in the United States have experienced partner violence, and 47 percent of all female victims and 39 percent male victims experienced this kind of violence were between the ages of 18 and 24; making college aged people one of the most vulnerable demographics for partner violence, according to information from National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey.

Lorain County Community College offers many resources to help people who find themselves in abusive relationships, affirms Densmore, who shared an experience she had using one of the resources in this case was the app, LiveSafe, she recognizes the effectiveness of it and how students and faculty members can help their co-workers and classmates through it. Sending text, audios, pictures or videos, as tips to alert campus security to step up and investigate or intervene depending on the situation.

Press Day leads aspiring journalists to LCCC

(Left to right) Darryl Tucker, Craig Adams, Jeff Harris, and Julie Wallace were the guest journalist speakers on the first panel.

Event offered students info on journalism, educational opportunities on campus

Kerri Klatt

Staff Writer

Emma Roth   

Abigail Doane

JRNM 151 Students

“The freedom of your country rests of the freedom of the press,” said Jeff Harris, news director of WEWS/ Channel-5 news, on April 26, as he addressed students, faculty, staff, and community members at Lorain County Community College’s Press Day event.

  Press Day was sponsored by The Division of Arts and Humanities, The Center for Teaching Excellence, The Student Life, The Student Senate, and The Collegian in the College Commons Center. The event highlighted the various media courses offered at the college and to encourage students to pursue their passion in media careers.

Attendees of the event were able to engage in two panel discussions. The first panel discussion included Darryl Tucker, managing editor of The Morning Journal, Julie Wallace, managing editor of The Chronicle-Telegram, Craig Adams, News director at WEOL Radio, and Harris. This panel of experienced media professionals encouraged students to follow their dreams and discussed how to stay competitive in a changing environment as well as shared their own experience in media careers. “There will always be news,” said Wallace, “The story hasn’t changed, the platform has.” The students were also encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity as well as drive to work hard.

Several students shared experiences with the various social media platforms. One Amherst High School student, Shane Schauffer shared his experience using the YouTube channel. “I am a comedian,” said Schauffer.

Students’ discussions often asked of internships, age restrictions, and job opportunities.

Attendees toured the LCCC TV studio, The Boom Radio station, and The Collegian’s newspaper office. At the Boom Radio station, Matt Melvin, station manager, and Tim Bradley, production director, record students introducing songs on-air.

The second panel discussion included five former LCCC students.  LCCC alumni’s Drew Scofield of WEWS TV Channel 5, Eric Bonzar of The Morning Journal, Cassie Neiden of GIE Media Inc., Kristin Hohman of The Chronicle-Telegram, and a public relations representative for the United Way, Ryan Aroney. Each alumnus discussed their paths to journalism and how LCCC has assisted them in that path. This panel included Cassidy Neiden whom started her media career at LCCC. Neiden had considered a career in journalism after the market crash but was told by many to not to enter the career field. Neiden, however, could not ignore her passion for media and enrolled in journalism classes at LCCC while working at the school newspaper. Neiden is now a managing editor at GIE Media Inc.

Kristin Hohman, copy-editor for The Chronicle Telegram, was a pre-med major at Ohio State University prior to changing to an English major. Hohman encouraged students to follow their passions regardless of challenges. Eric Bonzar, a journalist at “The Morning Journal,” had told students that school was not always his priority and had described himself a ‘bad student’. When the professors at LCCC showed interest in Bonzar, his priorities changed. “The teachers found value in my writing and work,” said Bonzar.  He was encouraged to write by professors at LCCC and began to write for “The Collegian”. “Learn it now,” said Bonzar speaking to students, “Take advantage of everything that is set before you.” Ryan Aroney, a freelance journalist and PR representative at the United Way, had a similar experience with his education but found his passion and pursued. Drew Scofield, digital producer for News Channel 5, was another panelist. “Journalism is not a narrow field,” said Scofield, “There is a lot you can do with it.” Scofield spoke of vast opportunities that journalism students have after graduation. Free pizza, coffee, cookies, and soda were also available for lunch for those who attended.

Student senators aim to improve campus life

Andre Malabanan

Staff Writer

In preparation for the new set of student leaders in the upcoming Academic Year 2018-2019, student senate elections were held by the Office of the Student Life on April 23, which ran until April 27, with the winning results announced on April 30.

A total of seven candidates applied to run for different positions in the student senate for the next academic year. Four of the candidates are student senate incumbents namely Eric Skinner, Felicia Densmore, Sijoon “Jude” Jeon, and Paul Warkentien. Newcomers are also aiming to be elected in various positions in the senate namely Danielle Porter, Deborah Porter and Saul Aguilar.

When asked what their dream projects would be, Densmore, who is currently the University Partnership representative, running as the only senate president candidate said: “One project that I would like to work on is a series of workshops surrounding civic engagement. Students at Lorain County Community College are going to be the next group of civic leaders, so it is important that they know how to get involved on campus and in their communities.”

According to Jeon, who is currently the senate financial secretary and running for the vice-president position in the senate, he would be attentive with the students through surveys. “What I am planning now is that after doing student survey, I would do my best to organize any event that can improve students’ satisfaction of their campus life,” he said. Currently the senate Learning Center representative, Warkentien is also running for the senate vice-president position. According to him, he wants to see more representation and advocacy for the Learning Center students in “both Student Senate’s decisions and in decisions made by the administration, I would also like to see the amenities we enjoy on main campus such as bottle fillers be brought to those centers,” he said.

Another incumbent vying for a position, Skinner, who is re-running for the position of senate event coordinator says that he wants to bridge the gap between the regular LCCC students and the LCCC International students. “My dream project is to help plan and coordinate the international dinner with the help of the international students this coming fall semester,” he said. Competing with incumbent Skinner for the event coordinator position is Danielle Porter who is calling for an advocacy to break barriers encountered by students. “My dream project is to advocate for some the many barriers that we the students face throughout our time at the school. I also want to throw more events and functions that will be more inclusive to everyone,” she said.

Running as the only candidate for the senate financial secretary position is Deborah Porter. According to Porter, her dream project is to put together a music band in the campus and “to have a diverse music/poetry/dance club up and running for the talented students on campus like myself to perform for the college as well as the community,” she said.

Like Densmore and Porter, Saul Aguilar, is also the only candidate for the position of the senate executive secretary who envisions a more integrated and united college community. “My dream project is a big festival/party with tons of integrating and team-building activities and good food with the sole purpose of making our students interact with each other,” he said.

The University Partnership representative and Learning Center Representative are currently vacant positions as of this time.

Outgoing student senate president Alexandra Moen, who is on her junior year and will be continuing her bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies at Cleveland State University, expressed that she has loved working and serving as a student senator. “I hope that the student body is happy with what I have been able to do as their president from the Student Lounge, Student Senate Scholarship, and successful events I have helped lead. I have learned so much from this position and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to be a Student Senator,” she said. Another outgoing student senator is Kimberly Weber, currently the vice president of the senate, who is graduating this fall semester from her Associates of Applied Business in Accounting at LCCC and will be continuing the degree at Kent State University. “Throughout my time as Student Senate Executive Secretary and Vice President this year, I have learned the value of teamwork, leadership, and time management. I am very grateful for the opportunity to represent the students at Lorain County Community College and I feel that I have made a positive influence on campus,” she said.

The student senate is a legislative assembly that acts as a liaison between students and the school administration. Members of the senate can be elected and/or appointed.

Christian group votes to become official club

Jeffrey Braden

JRNM 151 Student

A familiar scene at Lorain County Community College’s Starbucks is the weekly Gathering of the Coalition for Christian Outreach. Students going to get their coffee will see members of the CCO hosting a poll on the main table, playing board games, or just hanging out with one another between classes. While they have stickers and events on campus, CCO has not been an official campus club since their start in fall of 2016. That is all about to change since their status as an official campus club is coming up to a vote on May 3 at 2 p.m. in a student senate meeting.

Emily Bingham, a campus minister employed by the CCO to help serve at LCCC, has been involved with the various events CCO hosts. She says being a club will allow CCO certain privileges, but “more importantly, it’s also meaningful for us on a symbolic level”. Bingham encourages all students to attend, noting that there will be free coffee and snacks provided by the student senate.  She hopes that CCO will be voted in as an official organization so that it can “be an active and positive presence at LCCC for many years to come”.

While the CCO hasn’t been given full club status on LCCC’s campus yet, it is a branch of a national organization that reaches colleges nationwide. It is a non-profit organization founded in the 1970’s and has a presence in one hundred and forty college campuses across the nation. Their biggest event is their Jubilee held February of each year. A three-day conference that boasts an audience of up to four thousand college students from various chapters.

Trinity Harrison-Clark, a worker for CCO who has been involved with LCCC’s chapter, says, “Being an official club will allow us to be more integrated into the student body on campus”. Harrison-Clark says that becoming official will give CCO access to facilities and funds it doesn’t currently have, and “give our students a real sense of being involved in student life at LCCC”. She stressed that one of the main goals for CCO is to give students leadership skills and helping them integrate their faith with their studies.

The Gathering at Starbucks isn’t the only activity they hold on campus, as they also host two bible studies on Wednesdays and Fridays in the afternoon. There is a dinner they host twice a month called The Table, which Bingham says is “specifically designed for people who have never felt fully at home in traditional church services”. Bingham listed other activities they had done which included “a movie night, Olympics party, bonfire, and Christmas party.” They also took part in hurricane relief this year in Houston, Texas.

Campus Walk raises suicide awareness

Kerri Klatt

Staff Writer

A United States Navy Seaman, Joseph M. Nash, was an Eagle Scout, artist, 1998 Elyria High School graduate, and most importantly, a son, brother, and cousin. Nash was only 20 years old when he committed suicide on November 18, 2000 while being stationed in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.

Nash’s suicide, over 17 years later, still impacts his family.

Nash’s story was one of many stories of those whom attended the 3rd Annual ‘Out of The Darkness Campus Walk’ hosted on LCCC’s campus. The walk was held in the Field House located in the Recreation Center on campus. The Out of The Darkness walk was sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness and funding toward suicide prevention.

Attendees were able to engage with other survivors; family and friends of those whom have lost their lives to suicide or those who survived a suicide attempt. “We do call ourselves survivors because our loss is different than normal death,” said Deb DiCillo, Chapter Secretary and Elyria Walk Chair for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Ohio, “There is a lot of stigma still attached to the word suicide,” said DiCillo, “it did help me to find a group where there were other parents that lost their children to suicide because even though everybody’s story is different, the stories the same.”. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP), survivors show higher levels of feelings of guilt, blame, and responsibility for the death than other mourners.

DiCillo knows the effects of suicide, firsthand. “I got into the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention after my daughter took her own life, said DiCillo. She became active in the organization which began its walks in Cleveland. “I wanted to come to the college because college youth students are at risk,” said DiCillo, “We know that in the state of Ohio, ages 15-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death.” DiCillo explains that treating mental health will help suicide prevention because it is during these ages that mental illness manifest. “We can’t be afraid to talk,” She said.

Kionna McIntosh, executive assistant for Academic and Learner Services for LCCC, has also been affected by suicide. At 15 years old, McIntosh watched as her best friend lost a parent to suicide. “I was aware of how it can impact individuals and families,” said McIntosh. She shared that her own son was a survivor of a suicide attempt. “I also had a friend here at the college whom committed suicide,” said McIntosh, “It’s about awareness and for individuals to know that their lives matter.”

An important part of suicide recovery is taking care of the survivor’s mental health and engaging in therapy or counseling. For Joshua Ruminski, of Happy Candles Co. and survivor of two suicide attempts, therapy is making his homemade candles. Ruminski spoke prior to the walk. “It is okay not to be okay,” said Ruminski, “we are just dealing with something that is not seeable.” Rumuniski makes homemade candles in which he sells donating 20 percent profits to suicide prevention and awareness organizations such as AFSP. Ruminski’s mission is fighting to end the stigma of mental illness as well as to promote suicide prevention. Happy Thoughts Co. hopes to promote societal change with each candles sold that comes with a positive message.

Resources for suicide include, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org, The Trevor Project at thetrevorproject.org, as well as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.