The annual and increasingly popular fundraiser Walk a Mile in Her Shoes – in support of The Outreach Centre programming – is set for June 8th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Every year, more and more men sign up for the fun event, where they gather pledges, don high-heeled shoes and walk a mile on the path behind the The Outreach Centre (home of Women’s Outreach) — with funds going to support an array of programs at the Centre. The event’s mission reads, “Working to end family violence and poverty by supporting people in their pursuit of a safer, healthier more secure life.”
The funds from this walk will go to supporting the different programs and services that are offered at The Outreach Centre. According to The Outreach Centre web site, “Last year, we had over 200 Men ‘Walk the Walk’”. About $50,000 was raised.
It’s also about raising awareness about the, “Serious causes, effects and remediation to sexualized violence.”
It was about six years ago that staff at the Centre were looking for something a little bit different in terms of fundraising,” explained Darcy Ouellet, fund development officer of The Outreach Centre.
“I had heard of the event prior to that taking place in different communities and cities, because you have to buy the rights to hold the event,” he said.
“So we looked into it, and the response that first year was phenomenal and we’ve been growing ever since,” he said, adding that about 90 guys took part in that inaugural event. These days, similar walks are also held around the world. “It’s really neat to see the different walks.
“And everyone who does the walk is so willing to share information, because we aren’t competing against each other,” he explained.
“The thing that I think a lot of people like about it is that it’s only an hour – as fast as it takes you to walk a mile in a pair of high-heeled shoes,” he added with a smile.
“We start at noon, we sound the horn, we walk around the building down the bike path half a mile, then we come back here. All of the participants get a barbecue courtesy of the Food Bank. They can have a burger and then anyone else watching can make a donation and those funds go to the Food Bank.
“The Alberta Institute of Massage is also here to give the guys a quick little foot massage after they are done, and Twitchy Finger Photography has a photobooth so that people have something to take away from it, too.”
The shoes are supplied for the walkers (all the way up to size 15) and ultimately, it’s a couple of really fun hours that support an extremely worthy cause in the community. Ouellet pointed out that The Outreach Centre runs 20 programs.
Ouellet said companies often take part too, and will typically bring their guys over for a pre-event shoe fitting.
“We also have a lot of women that do the walk, too. It’s not exclusive to men. I’m all for that,” said Ouellet. “We ask everyone to raise at least a couple hundred dollars as well.”
Ultimately, it’s a superb event that really brings the community together, he said, adding the event also helps to encourage conversations around the topic of domestic violence as well.
“It’s a really great formula for an event for us.”
For more information on taking part or for more about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.womensoutreach.ca.