By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: April 2012
Some male participants sported red high heels as they walked in last year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes sponsored by Safenet Services.
An old adage goes: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes.”
To bring more awareness to and raise funds for domestic violence and sexual assault in Rogers and Mayes Counties, Safenet Services is sponsoring their second annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” on Saturday, April 21. Two separate events are planned this year, one in Claremore and the other in Pryor.
The Claremore walk will begin at 9 a.m., with registration starting at 8 a.m. at the Ne-Mar Shopping Center. Registration at Pryor will begin at 1 p.m. followed by the walk at 2 at the Mayes County Courthouse. Both walks will begin and end at the starting locations, according to Susan Wolfenbarger, assistant director of Safenet Services.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes started out in 2001 as a small group of men daring to teeter around a park to bring attention to and raise funds for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs. It has grown into a worldwide movement with tens of thousands of men raising millions of dollars for the cause.
Last year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes drew 100 participants.
Some men who participate literally walk one mile in women’s red high-heeled shoes, which is not an easy feat. However, wearing high heels is not required. The event is designed to be fun and to get communities talking about something that’s really difficult to talk about: gender relations and sexual violence. “We had a great turnout last year with over 100 walkers, including men, women and children, showing up for the Claremore walk,” says Wolfenbarger. “This is our first time to host an event in Mayes County.”
Registration fee for either event is $15. Everyone that registers before April 6 is guaranteed a t-shirt. Walkers are asked to raise at least $50, but more is even better. “You can ask your co-workers, friends and relatives to support your walk,” she says, “or invite them to join the walk too. Domestic violence affects everyone; not just women, but entire families.”
Last year’s event raised around $8,000 with just 100 participants. “This year, we’d like to see 200 or 300 people coming out to support this cause,” says Wolfenbarger.
Youngsters and students of any age are also invited to participate. The registration fee is the same but these age groups are only asked to raise $25. “They don’t have to stop at that amount though,” Wolfenbarger adds.
Participants who raise $50 or more will receive a goody bag of products, coupons and gifts donated by local businesses, according to Wolfenbarger. People are encouraged to register in advance by going online to www.safenetservices.org, where they can find the registration form, or by calling (918)341-1424.
Walkers are also encouraged to wear red shoes or red on their shoes for the event. “We will be selling red ribbons that day for $2 each,” she adds. “We did have some men who wore red heels last year. It was a lot of fun.” Wearing heels, however, is not required.
Participants are also encouraged to form a team and give your group a name. “Last year we had Oologah cheerleaders who formed a team, as well as a team from a store called Chrome Cowgirls in Oologah who walked in cowboy boots.”
For men who wish to wear “comfortable” shoes for walking the mile, contact Safenet Services. “We can pre-order red pumps in men’s sizes for $39.99 plus shipping and handling,” says Wolfenbarger.
Anyone who wants to get a team together can have fun during the one-mile walk. “You can invite co-workers, church members and friends to form a team,” she adds. “Each individual walks at his or her own pace.” All proceeds will directly benefit Safenet Services’ clients.
Safenet Services is a United Way agency and is certified by the Office of the Attorney General.
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.