The Bergen PRIDE team.

The Bergen PRIDE team.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College students raised more than $1,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – North Jersey chapter’s “Out of the Darkness” virtual annual walk this month. The College’s “Bergen PRIDE” team consisted of 21 students, faculty and staff. Second-year student Hamza Chah, of Carlstadt, raised the most money in the group.

“After seeing everything that’s been going on with the pandemic, I wanted to dedicate my time and lend a helping hand,” he said. “Once I educated myself on how serious this matter is and familiarized myself with the statistics in regards to suicide, I wanted to try to make a difference.”

This is the College’s eighth year participating in the walk, with this year representing the biggest turnout among students, faculty and staff.

“This is my first time fundraising for this cause but it certainly won’t be my last,” Chah said. “When I publicized the fundraiser on my social media accounts, I learned a lot about how much people are looking to help but just aren’t sure about where to start.”

Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. 

The New Jersey Out of the Darkness Experience is a strong and resilient community, united in an effort to fight suicide, raise awareness, educate communities, support those who have lost loved ones, and support those with lived experience. AFSP currently has more than 30 educational programs. Many of these programs are brought to local communities free of charge because of the funds raised from the Out of the Darkness Walks.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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