NORTH ATTLEBORO - Alyssa Caruso knows how to get the local community moving.
Founder of the Walk for Hope, the North Attleboro native has organized two successful local walks in the past few years to raise money for suicide and depression prevention programs.
This month, Caruso plans to fight suicide and depression in a different way - in a boxing ring.
On Feb. 25, Caruso and the Walk for Hope will team up with Striking Beauties, a women's boxing facility, for a fundraiser called "20-20-20." It will feature 20 minutes of boxing for a group of 20 people and a $20 donation by participants.
Striking Beauties President
Dena Paolino met Caruso at the Walk of Hope last August.
"Dena shared her story with me and expressed interest in helping with the cause," Caruso said. "We met over Christmas to plan the details of our fundraiser."
Caruso and Paolino hope the event at Striking Beauties, 18 Church St. in North Attleboro, will help participants find their inner strength and promote feelings of self-worth and accomplishment.
"Women who attend Striking Beauties walk away with a strong sense of self-empowerment," Caruso said. "It's about more than just exercise."
The Southern New Hampshire University senior said the Walk of Hope's mission is to raise awareness, as well as eliminate any embarrassment or shame associated with depression, which affects 17.6 million Americans each year.
"Suicide and depression are two things that no one wants to talk about," Caruso said in a previous interview with The Sun Chronicle. "I wanted to bring awareness about it to the community."
The walks have received strong support from the community and have taught local residents about the warning signs of depression and suicide prevention.
Caruso said she hopes the boxing event will receive the same level of community support and increase local awareness of the issues.
Participants in the fundraiser will be provided with food and refreshments, including beverages from Muscle Milk.
They also will have the chance to purchase "confidence beads," created by Linda Waters, which are meant to provide self-affirmation.
"Each bead has a different inspirational message, such as strength," Caruso said of the bracelets. "They're meant to serve as constant confidence boosters."
A portion of the proceeds from the bracelets, will go toward the fundraiser's donations to suicide and depression awareness programs.
The programs educate people about the warning signs of suicide and depression, as well as prevention.
To sign up or receive more information, contact Alyssa Caruso at AWalkForHope@gmail.com or 508-463-5065.