Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser approaching

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser for Lily Pad to be held at Deerfield Windsor School

Walkers at last year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser to support the Lily Pad raised close to $15,000. (Special Photo)

Walkers at last year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser to support the Lily Pad raised close to $15,000. (Special Photo)

ALBANY — The Lily Pad Center of Albany is asking members of the community to once again Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, to raise funding and awareness to help the non-profit organization provide services to victims and families impacted by sexual and physical abuse.

The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is the largest fundraiser held by the organization and this year will be taking place March 22 at the Deerfield Windsor School Upper Campus track at 11 a.m. with registration at 10 a.m.

Walkers in the event will be given red high heeled shoes to wear while walking the mile in keeping with the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes theme.

“This fundraiser affords a light-hearted way to bring out our message of ending sexual violence in this community,” said Lily Pad Interim Executive Director Mary Martinez. “The even encourages volunteer walkers to experience walking in someone else’s shoes.”

Martinez said that currently the organization is hoping to top last year’s donation total of close to $15,000 and is still looking for sponsored walkers to register for the event. Walkers are encouraged to obtain sponsorships from friends, family or businesses to help Lily Pad meet its goal.

“We really need walkers,” Martinez said. “And we’re looking for sponsors for walkers. We try to encourage each walker to raise $500 dollars. I’d love to see us raise at least $20,000 this year.”

In an effort to add a bit of fun to the event, organizers each year give a away several awards to different walkers, based on a variety of criteria. This year the organization will be recognizing the Wildest Walker, an award for best costume; the Most Spirited Team, since many walkers enter as teams, the Fastest Walker and the walker with the Best Legs, which includes men and women.

The most important award Lily Pad will give at the event though will be the award for the Most Money Raised, in keeping with the fundraising spirit.

Martinez said regardless of what each walker can raise, however, having any support from the community will help the organization, which offers all of its program services with no cost.

“All the victims we see and everything we do, it’s free of charge,” Martinez said. “This is our annual fundraiser and this is our one big fundraiser of the year.”

Since opening in 2006, the Lily Pad Center has helped more than 2,000 primary and secondary victims of abuse and was named the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s Non-Profit of the Year in 2010.

Lily Pad provides services through it’s various programs which include the Boren Center, which provides free sexual assault exams, the Firefly House, which provides services to children who have been victims of abuse, CASA, which provides services to foster children and Paves, a fatherhood program which helps father’s obtain legal and visitation rights.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Lily Pad, wanting to sign up to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, or sponsor a walker should contact Martinez at (229) 435-0074 or email her at mary.lilypad@gmail.com.