Red Deer, for the sixth year in a row, took part in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on Thursday.
The event, which raises funds to support the 20 different programs put on by the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society, brings together men throughout the community to literally walk a mile in four-inch women’s red high heel shoes.
Darcy Ouellet, funding development officer for Women’s Outreach, said the most important aspect of the event is creating awareness in the community.
“It is an awareness campaign and a fundraising campaign – all the people get pledges to do the walk,” he said. “It really brings awareness to issues like domestic violence and also what we do at our agency. It is growing every year and we add a little more. More guys are eager to try, the bigger it gets.”
The Red Deer RCMP detachment was one of the several different local organizations taking part in the event – with nine uniformed officers donning the heels. RCMP Supt. Ken Foster said it is important for his officers to take part in this event, considering the RCMP deals with issues of domestic violence frequently.
“Sadly still in our society there is a lot of issues around relationship violence and violence against women,” he said. “It is important for us to be here because of all the work we do in the community with various agencies and organizations.”
He noted that relationship violence is not exclusive to women, however the cases his detachment deals with have women primarily as the victim.
“They are very intensive, emotional files when we get involved with relationship violence,” he said. “So anything we can do to raise awareness and prevent the incidents from happening in the first place is a positive.”
Ouellet explained that events like this help raise awareness for all the services offered by Women’s Outreach.
“It brings awareness to what we do,” he said. “We have 20 different programs and services here at Women’s Outreach and we are an agency where people don’t know what we do until they have to ask the question. It’s about letting people know there is a place to go to.”
The Toad and Turtle Pub House and Grill has sent walkers to the event for many years, and for Adam Wheeler the importance of this event is poignant.
“I grew up in not the best home myself – so this means a little extra to me,” Wheeler said. “If you look at legs right now – my legs are shaking, so even standing is tough. It is tough, but worth it. I hope we raised a bunch of money and that everyone had a good time.”
Last year’s leading fundraiser was the Innisfail Eagles Hockey Club. Coach Brian Sutter was hoping to encourage others and improve on last year’s numbers.
“It is a great cause. We did it last year and helped them raise some money,” he said. “We were the leading money-raisers last year, so we are here challenging ourselves and everyone else to do what we did last year. The big word is awareness. It’s so special that people give their time for the people in need. It is something that is overlooked.”
Ouellet added the best way to learn about the programs offered by Women’s Outreach is to see for yourself.
“We do different events throughout the year,” he said. “If someone wants to support a specific program – we have things in place for that, too. I always encourage people who want to know what we do to come down or give me a call. We are happy to do tours and we are always eyes wide open. We will be doing this again next year, so it is nice that people see it. We will see you next year.”