FORT WALTON BEACH— A peer-to-peer suicide prevention program will be introduced into the Okaloosa County School District sometime this year.


Dubbed the Hope Squad, the program will spread awareness throughout the community, said Peggy Brockman, executive director of United for a Good Cause.


“This program is about creating a culture of connectiveness and kindness throughout the school,“ Brockman said Tuesday at the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce.


The Hope Squad uses trained peers, advisers and parents to create awareness on suicide and bullying.


Hope Squad student members are chosen by their teachers and faculty. All members are taught how to have the right conversations.


“This takes a community,” Brockman said.


Marcus Chambers, superintendent of the Okaloosa County School District, talked about the impact of suicide during the event.


“One suicide is obviously one suicide too much,” Chambers said.


The Hope Squad program was originally started in Utah, but United for a Good Cause has taken on the project in the Okaloosa County School District.


During the event, Brockman thanked Cox Communications and Eglin Federal Credit Union for their donations to the Hope Squad.


Brockman hopes to implement the Hope Squad in the nearby counties in the future.