The class of 2020 donated $3,323 to The Samaritans Inc. last semester in memory of classmates and to raise awareness about suicide prevention. 

Seniors Madison Olsen and Alyssa True organized a pub crawl throughout the last year that took place on November 10, 2019. According to True, she began organizing the event since the summer and asked Olsen to help her along the way once school started in the fall. 

Pub Crawl is an all student-run senior class tradition at Keene State and this year True said there were around 550 students who participated and each person paid $20, which covered the cost of t-shirts, drinks, etc.

The excess money the class raises is typically donated to a philanthropy of their choice.

Olsen and True said they were thinking of where to donate the proceeds a few weeks before the event and found their answer close to campus. 

“We decided that we wanted to do something local because you know where it’s going,” said Olsen. “And with the recent death of our classmate Nick, we decided that we thought a suicide prevention organization would probably be the best and most meaningful to everybody and especially the seniors. So we just felt that would be the most important thing to do right now.” 

That decision led them to The Samaritans Inc., a non-profit in Keene that provides resources on suicide prevention and awarness. According to their website, the Keene chapter was founded in 1981 by a local family who lost their son to suicide. 

The Samaritans provide suicide prevention training, outreach education programs and more to individual families, groups, organizations, businesses, non-profits, school systems and universities, always free of charge. 

“They were perfect for us,” said True. “And it turns out they needed a lot more funding.”  

The Executive Director of The Samaritans Inc. and alumna of Keene State Carmen Trafton said the donation came at the perfect time. 

“We were delighted to receive the donation. It was unexpected and very large. We are using it to support prevention programs for youths, ages five to 25. And it came at a great time because our agency is facing the abrupt cut of our Monadnock United Way funding,” said Trafton. 

Monadnock United Way (MUW) is a non-profit also located in Keene that has donated to organizations and groups for the past 65 years focused on children, education or financial Stability. On February 10, the President of MUW Liz LaRose announced in a letter posted on their website that several of their partners will no longer be funded due to financial issues starting on April 30, 2020.

Trafton said their budget was cut by $13,000, but said she is thankful for the donation from the seniors to help them get through this time. “It’s really not extra money that we have now, it’s a breath that we can take as we prepare to raise the initial $10,000 that was cut,” she said. “This is helping us toward recouping those losses so that we don’t have to cut any services or programs.” 

Trafton said although there are resources available for everyone, there aren’t enough people talking about the topic and bringing awareness to it. “There’s just not enough coverage, there’s not enough help, there’s not enough resources,” Trafton said.  

According to reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2017, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. They also reported that suicide was the eighth leading cause of death in New Hampshire and around 123 people die by suicide everyday in the U.S. 

Trafton said these statistics inspire a lot of people to take action and get involved in sucide awareness programs, including the Keene State BodyWorks program. According to Trafton, the BodyWorks program is loaning The Samaritans Inc. and the Keene Family YMCA all of their stationary bikes to use for their event Pedaling for Prevention. On Sunday, March 22, the YMCA is hosting the event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to raise money for two 16-year-old Keene High School students who are biking across the country this summer to spread awarness on suicide. 

“We’re encouraging students, [it] could be clubs, organizations, sports teams, friends, sororities, fraternities, everyone, to come and join us,” Trafton said. “It’s six 45-minute spin classes all day taught by instructors who are amazing, and people can wear what they want. They can come as Owls, but if you guys wanna help us that’s a way you can immediately make a significant impact.” 

Trafton said they are always looking for volunteers and donations, but they are also accepting food, water, camping equipment, etc. 

BodyWorks Manager Charity Sweeney said, “BodyWorks is happy to be a community partner for Pedaling for Prevention on March 22… We hope members of our campus community are able to participate in this worthwhile cause!” 

Both True and Olsen are planning a pub crawl for this semester with the hopes of donating the proceeds to The Samaritans again. 

“I think everyone felt like their money was going to a good cause which is important, especially with Pub Crawl. You know, it probably has a negative connotation to it, but we raised thousands of dollars for a good cause,” said Olsen. 

Trafton commended both Olsen and True for their work with students. “I really think Maddy and Alyssa have done an amazing job of coordinating the students in the safest way possible,” Trafton said. 

For more information on The Samaritans Inc., visit their website at

You can reach The Samaritans Inc. at 603-357-5510 or their crisis hotline number  at 603-357-5505. 

For more information on Pedaling for Prevention or to donate to the cause, you can visit the Pedaling for Prevention tab on

Jack Hanson can be contact at

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