DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A local organization is looking to inspire hope and save lives. Pride Rocks is an initiative to spread awareness of suicide prevention, specifically for the LGBTQ community.

It’s a mission to make sure no stone is left unturned for those who need help. These aren’t ordinary stones, they’re Pride Rocks, meant to inspire and shed a glimmer of hope for those who stumble upon them.

This is an initiative by the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton to address a much-needed gap in suicide prevention.

“As we look at all the suicide prevention that’s happening though Montgomery County, we started to notice there was really some lacking suicide prevention specifically targeted toward the LGBTQ community,” said Lake Miller, NCCJ Director of Education.

Pride Rocks started in 2021, and it was a huge hit for those who attended the celebration of hand-painting each and every stone.

The Dayton community has been through a lot over the last few years, and Miller says people need connection more than ever.

“We have heard countless stories of somebody walking through one of our beautiful Metroparks, walking around a school, walking through any of these areas and looking down at their feet and seeing that affirmative rock and the message that gave to them or hope it gave to them can be enormous,” Miller said.

But even more important is the ripple effect Pride Rocks can have on the community as a part of the ongoing effort to erase the stigma surrounding mental health.

“To have said ‘suicide’ on the news years ago would have been unheard of,” Miller said. “And so the other piece of this project that’s really important is that we’re going to have hundreds of people who come through Pride Rocks that day and hundreds of people who leave with that message that, it’s ok not to be ok, but here are the things you can do to get support.”

 Miller says more still needs to be done to help the community heal, and he hopes Pride Rocks will help those who need it most.

“Dayton is a place where we want to make sure that our neighbors feel welcome,” Miller said. “We want to make sure that our community is being valued for who they are, so seeing the support, seeing the appreciation people have for this event has been really spectacular.”

If you’d like to participate in the Pride Rock painting celebration, it’s happening on May 14 at the Levitt Pavilion from 11 am until 2 pm. There will be free food, entertainment and education, but most of all, they’re saying the main focus is community.

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