Sunday, October 12, 2014

Are YOU man (or woman) enough to sponsor me for Walk a Mile in HER Shoes next weekend?

As your Thanksgiving weekend events continue on, I want you to think what you are thankful for this weekend.  Friends?  Family?  A safe home to call your own?  That's great.

Now, consider those who are not thankful this weekend, except perhaps they are still alive in spite of being in an abusive relationship.  Think about that for a moment, because there are more than you think in that very situation right now.

Every year, countless women leave abusive relationships and seek shelter and help from Gillian's Place in St. Catharines.  For over 35 years now, Gillian's Place has protected and served abused women and their children in St. Catharines and North Niagara.  Whether women need the safety of the shelter or access to the many programs offered on an outreach basis, Gillian's Place is there to help.

The agency has grown to provide a range of services for women, including a 24-hour support line, safe shelter, safety planning and counselling, emotional support, legal advice, transitional assistance and public education.  All services are free, completely confidential and available to all women 16 years of age and over.  What's more, they don't actually have to stay in the shelter to access the services of Gillian's Place.

All these services, however, cost money.  Gillian's Place, like many other social agencies, needs public fundraising in order to keep going and provide vital services to the community.  And that is where us guys come in.

For eight years now, the men of Niagara have gathered on one Saturday in October to take a stand against violence towards women and children and participate in a fun event that raises much-needed funds and awareness for Gillian's Place.  Every year it grows bigger and better, and although ideally we wish there were no need for Gillian's Place, the grim reality of the situation indicates otherwise.

For the 9th Annual Walk this year, we're pulling out all the stops and hoping to surpass the $125,000 goal next Saturday, October 18th.  The event takes place again this year at the Pen Centre in the Sears Court.  Registration begins at 10 am and the walk begins at 12 noon.  There will be guest speakers, entertainment, an awards ceremony and lunch afterwards.

Now here's how you can help.  If you are a man who feels as we do violence has no place in society on any level, but in particular in the domestic environment, why don't you consider joining us?  It's still not too late to register to walk and raise funds for Gillian's Place; just go to www.walkamileinhershoes.ca and click on the Register Now button to get started.

No matter what your gender, you also have a part to play even if you are not walking next Saturday.  You can - and we hope you will - sponsor a walker and show you support an end to violence against women in Niagara specifically and elsewhere as a whole.

For my part, I registered again this year this very weekend, and I am actively looking for pledges for my walk again this year.  This will be my 7th walk; I observed the very first one downtown and a few years ago following an operation in September, I was persuaded not to walk in heels that year.  But every other year I have been there, heels on, showing my support for Gillian's Place.

Last year was also my first year walking as an individual, and although I am registered again this year as an individual, I will be joining my esteemed colleagues at Meridian Credit Union in the walk next Saturday.

My choice of footwear will be determined when I arrive the morning of the walk, and I see what is available on the shoe rack.  Last year I chose a nice strappy number with a rather high heel, and I survived the walk, so who knows how adventurous I'll get this year!  Hey, the more donations, the higher the heel...does that work for you?  Wait a minute, what am I saying?

Anyway, will you support me?  All it takes is an online pledge by going to www.walkamileinhershoes.ca and click on the Participant button in order to select a particular participate to pledge for.  You can also message or email me directly if you want to make an in-person pledge.  It can be in any amount, by the way, and don't think your donation is too small to matter.  It all matters, and we gratefully accept all donations, big or small.

Next Saturday, several hundred men will strap on heels and join local celebrities and public figures in a walk to end violence against women and children in Niagara.  But we can't do it without you, so make a pledge, and come out to watch us strut our, er, stuff at the Pen Centre next Saturday.  It's fun, and a great cause.

See you next Saturday!

October 12th, 2014.

1 comment:

Cindy Dy said...

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