Stepping up to benefit the Peace House
Elvis Presley once told a friend to ‘walk a block in my socks,’ as a joke and nod to the saying "walk a mile in their shoes."
The lesson taught is that you won’t understand what others go through unless you lived their lives.
That idea is the theme for a fundraiser of various shelters for women and children around the world.
This year, Peace House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to end domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties, will present its first annual "Walk a Mile In Her Shoes" fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 22, beginning at 10 a.m.
The event will feature men donning women’s shoes and costumes walking from Miner’s Hospital in Cit Park to the Wasatch Brew Pub at the top of Main Street during the Park Silly Sunday Market.
The event is designed to raise money and awareness of domestic violence, family abuse and violence against women, said Peace House executive director Jane Patten.
"We encourage the men to collect additional donations for their walk," she said during an interview with The Park Record.
Patten was introduced to the walk in Utah through the Center for Women and Children in Crisis shelter in Provo.
"They’ve done three or four of them and I became very intrigued by it," Patten said. "It looked like an event that will address a serious subject by giving it a fun aspect. That way it’s not so heavy that people will turn their backs on it."
Patten said the walk seemed like a perfect fit for Park City.
"As you know, we love to have fun," she said. "Parkites love to dress up and be silly. So we thought we would give it a try and increase the awareness of these issues."
Patten also said it was important to include men in these events.
"When men get involved, some wonderful things begin to happen," she said. "They start to understand that we’re not an organization of men haters and they realize that we’re all working together to end the violence.
"We need to create a community that is not accepting of violence of any type, because our mission is not just centered around women, but ending violence as a whole," Patten said. "This event does, however, have the element of understanding of what a women goes through when they are in a relationship that is surrounded by violence."
Peace House is accepting advance registration now by visiting http://www.peacehouse.org . The cost is $30.
"We will also accept registration the day of the event at the starting line between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.," Patten said. "Once the registration is done, we’ll get the men ready and give them some time to practice walking and maneuvering in their heels."
Participants can arrive with their own partners who can help them during the walk.
"We can also partner them with a ‘Sole Brother’ or ‘Blister Sister,’ who are part of the Treasure Mountain Junior High School leadership class," Patten said. "They will help the men when they feel a little wobbly or need some support."
‘Sole Brothers’ and ‘Blister Sisters’ will also give encouragement so the men don’t feel like they’re doing this by themselves.
"That’s the whole message of the Peace House — no one is by themselves," Patten said. "Anyone can come and receive the support they need."
Patten said the seed for Park City’s "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event was planted by Mary Jane’s store owner Lori Harris.
The women’s shoe, clothing and accessory store, which has been located at 613 Main St. since it opened 10 years ago, is the event’s main sponsor.
"Lori is the one who got us thinking about doing the walk," Patten said.
Harris said she approached the Peace House about sponsoring the event because she has worked with the organization on prior fundraisers.
"We usually provide Jane with donations of clothes and shoes," Harris said. "Last winter we helped them with a supplies fundraiser to help them get basic items like paper towels and Windex."
Mary Jane’s has helped recruit other sponsors and collected swag-bag items to hand out to the men when they finish the walk, Harris said.
"We will also help the gentlemen who need smaller-sized shoes pick them out here in the store, and we are gathering larger shoes from Deseret Industries and the Blue Boutique for those how have shoe sizes that are larger than they can find in a women’s store," she said.
Harris said it is important for her business to work with nonprofit organizations such as the Peace House.
"They are part of our community just like Mary Jane’s is," she said. "We need to help each other out, because the whole point of events like this is to bring the community together."
In addition to the walk and swag bags, there will be different awards handed out for best shoes, best outfit, the most money raised (all checks need to be made out to Peace House) and the first to cross the finish line.
"This event will be a ton of fun with the guys wearing the heels and, hopefully, some costumes parading up the street through the Park Silly Market," Harris said. "I think the community will support this and I’m sure there will be some applause."
The Peace House and Mary Jane’s will present "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," a fundraiser for Peace House, on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 10 a.m. Registration is being accepted at http://www.peacehouse.org . The cost is $30 in advance or $40 the day of the event. For more information, visit http://www.peacehouse.org.
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