It was unanimous among those men who donned bright red high heels – the potential blisters and sore feet were worth it in the name of a good cause.
Nearly 70 people and 12 teams participated in the 2021 Walk-A-Mile In Her Shoes event Wednesday, designed to raise awareness around domestic and sexualized violence, while also raising funds for the Red Deer Outreach Centre.
After holding the event virtually last year, newly appointed Central Alberta Outreach Centre Society CEO Ian Wheeliker was happy to have so many people out to better understand such an important cause.
“It’s a lot of fun… there was a great turnout and it’s all about raising awareness and prevention too,” said Wheeliker, who took over the position of CEO in August.
“We’re trying to change the world, one step at a time. We’ve got lots of people out that truly care about the community and ending sexual and domestic violence towards women and girls.”
Chad Huseby, a representative with Servus Credit Union who walked in the event Wednesday, added it’s an important community fundraiser.
“When I think of the outreach centre, I think of all the programs they offer from domestic, abuse support, to suicide awareness and all the programs they do, they do a great job here in Central Alberta. It’s a much-needed resource, especially over the last 18 months with what everyone has gone through,” he said.
The event was another success in 2021, raising more than $20,000 which will go a long way according to Wheeliker.
“All year long we provide services from therapeutic trauma services for kids that are exposed to any sort of trauma. Suicide prevention, health and well-being, healthy relationships in the schools and housing and working on initiatives with our community partners around poverty,” he said.
“The funds raised today go toward helping us right across these programs. Particularly the health issues – the mental health issues coming out of the pandemic.”
Wheeliker added that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more support will be needed for women.
“There were a lot of situations where domestic and sexual violence, because of the isolation over the pandemic, didn’t get reported,” he said.
“I know that agencies like ours right across the province, when we did see folks, the severity of the violence they had experienced was intensified even more during the pandemic… they didn’t know what services were open or not open. The outreach centre and other essential services were open throughout the pandemic.”