The Walker School is in the midst of commemorating 50 years and to celebrate school officials are planning their first local fundraiser complete with activities, a raffle and a three-mile walk.
Co-chaired by Susan McKay and Marsha Shorthose, the "Change Shoes, Change Lives" Walk for Walker will emanate from DeFazio Park on Sunday, Sept. 12. At the forefront of the day is a three-mile walk through downtown Needham (with a shorter, one-mile walk also available) meant to symbolize the journey that Walker and its students have taken over the years.
"We do lots of fun events at Walker, but this is our first walk," said Charlene Pontbriand, a director at Walker. "We are really excited because it is also our first local fundraising event and our first opportunity to involve the community."
The "Change Shoes, Change Lives" theme comes from the fact that donated sneakers at the event will go toward making life a little better for young people around the world.
"The Walk will be a proud donation point for Nike's ReUse-a-shoe program," Pontbriand told Needham Patch. "Bring your worn or unwanted sneakers, any brand, and recycle them at the Walk!"
According to Pontbriand, the ReUse initiative is one of the Nike's longest-running environmental programs. Material from shoes is remade into inning tracks, basketball courts and playgrounds.
"The shoe/sneaker idea came from our amazing group of volunteers who donated their talents by doing promotional work and outreach," Pontbriand said.
Both event organizers, Shorthose and McKay, are avid walkers who wanted to create a day that includes Needham residents of all ages.
"It is a great way for children to get involved and help other kids," said McKay in a press release.
The day will also be a celebration of Walker's work over the years and the lives of students it has touched. Founded in the fall of 1960, Walker provides mental health services, special education programs and child welfare advocacy.
"Walker is wonderful place for children who need our services, an important part of the Greater Needham community and a very fun place to become involved with," Pontbriand said.
Registration for "Change Shoes, Change Lives" walk begins at 11 a.m. at DeFazio Park. Walkers may begin anytime between 11 and noon. After the walk cake and ice cream will be served at the DeFazio finish line and guests can enjoy games, activities and a raffle. All are welcome and pre-registration is not required.