The Middle Division (MD) Sanctuary for Families Walk-a-thon is a fundraising event that is hoping to aid those who have either been victims of abuse at home. This year, the walk-a-thon was originally scheduled for today, and the students planned to walk from through much of Upper Manhattan. Unfortunately, with the possibility of heavy rain, the itinerary has been changed.
“The advisory will now eat lunch during D period, and then walk around the HM campus together during E and F periods at least six times to reflect the six miles we were planning to walk,” dance teacher Denise DiRenzo said.
History teacher Katharine Rudbeck’s and DiRenzo’s advisees are the main participants and contributors to organizing this walk-a-thon as well as Caitlin Hickerson, the MD service learning coordinator. “Ms. Rudbeck has led a few of her advisories on this walk-a- thon in previous years,” Hickerson said. “Typically, it is a follow up to their volunteering at the Sanctuary for Families dinner,” Hickerson said.
“It has become like a sort of tradition for the homeroom,” Jiyon Chatterjee (8), a member of the advisory, said. “We even spend some time before the walk researching the cause and talking about ways we can continue to make an impact outside of school,” Chatterjee said.
“We try to get our fellow classmates to learn about the sanctuary and encourage them to come to the walk too,” Chatterjee said. “I think that the walk-a-thon is really beneficial for the advisory because we spend time that would otherwise be wasted for a good cause instead. We all learn about the ways we can help out even as a couple of middle schoolers.”
“It can really help a lot of families,” Ishaan Iyengar (8) said. “It’s a great resource for those that come from broken families, to know that there are others in both Horace Mann that want to be of service to them.”
The walk-a-thon gives a chance to both the students and parents of the school to donate to a worthy cause. And because the walk usually takes place through the city, other people who are passing by might also take interest after seeing what the kids are doing, Iyengar said.
“If more people knew about Sanctuary for Families, they would definitely not hesitate to assist them,” Iyengar said. He also believes that he as well as others are guilty of tending to live in a bubble, where they only think of themselves and the issues within their own lives, he said.
Both Iyengar and Chatterjee wish that the walk-a-thon could be expanded to a school-wide event, rather than just their advisory, they said. Other than that, the school could also try to hold more than one walk-a-thon, in favor of raising even more money for Sanctuary for Families, they said.
Laila Farmer (9) also participated in the walk-a-thon last year when she was in Rudbeck’s advisory and was proud of their charitable actions, she said.
“We walked about eight miles from just before the George Washington Bridge to 89th street,” she said.
However, Farmer also wishes that more people participated in the event, she said.
“Walking is good for you. So why not get your exercise in the beautiful spring weather and raise money for a cause that everyone cares deeply about. It brings everyone together in more than one way and keeps you healthy,” Farmer said.