Who Walks for Steppin' Up?
The parents and siblings of a daughter killed by the man who said he wanted to marry her; the family of a couple together decades when one partner turned on the other. The employees of local businesses, some of whom know, firsthand, about the trauma of domestic violence and sexual assault. The staff of Turning Points Network who are on the front lines of personal violence every day—advocating in court, managing TPN’s 16-bed emergency shelter, leading classes in Economic Independence, facilitating support groups; volunteers who answer the crisis and support line 24/7 and educators who bring violence-prevention programs to more than 2000 students in Sullivan County schools, every year.
Close to 1000 people are expected to participate in the 12th annual Steppin’ Up to End Violence Walk and Fun Run on May 5, through historic downtown Claremont, beginning and ending at Claremont Middle School.
Chaired this year by LaValley-Middleton Building Supply, the event is also sponsored by National Field Representatives, North Country Smokehouse, Hannaford, Mascoma Bank, Crown Point Cabinetry, Woodlawn Care Center, Kiwanis Claremont Charities, Chadwick Funeral Services, Summercrest Senior Living, Groups Recover Together, Goodrich Oil Co., Michael and Elizabeth Lemieux, Cross Insurance-Wakefield, McCrillis and Eldredge and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare who lead the fifty or so local business sponsors that traditionally support Steppin’ Up.
Forty-five teams have already signed on, representing faith communities, nonprofits, firefighters and other municipal groups, the medical field, families and friends, businesses of all sizes, all of whom stand in solidarity against personal violence and in encouragement of a more compassionate community.
Kids and dogs, babies in strollers, runners looking to improve their three-mile-time, young people, older people and retired people from across the economic spectrum are part of this effort because survivors of personal violence come in all sizes, colors, genders and circumstances.
Behind-the-scene are TPN Board members who lead committees, recruit teams, engage sponsors and work with volunteers to organize prizes, publicity, registration and to make muffins, cookies and fruit cups for the participants. Some sixty volunteers in all are part of Steppin’ Up’s success.