01 Jul 2014

In Her Shoes for A Safe Place On Nantucket

In her bestselling novel “In Her Shoes,” author Jennifer Weiner’s character Sydelle gives readers a glimpse into her past when she explains “you don’t know what it was like to live in this house…never being able to put a foot right.” It reminds us that we truly never know what someone else is going through if we haven’t lived in their house or walked in their shoes. It’s hard for most of us who visit and live on Nantucket to imagine that domestic violence happens on this fairytale island…but it does. The motto at A Safe Place Nantucket (the island’s only domestic violence advocacy and resource center) is “It Happens Here.”

This past weekend, hundreds of Nantucket men gathered together to “step out” in support of A Safe Place Nantucket and the women, men and children who suffer abuse on the island by literally stepping into women’s shoes and walking a mile to raise funds and awareness for the cause. Participants spanned the spectrum of island “cool dudes” with representatives from the police and fire departments, landscapers, real estate agents, architects, high school boys and countless others.

The men were creative and enthusiastic in their efforts to bring some lighthearted fun to a difficult topic. Glamorous shoes of all shapes and styles were on display – snazzy high heels, stylish wedges, bedazzled flip flops and even a few platform pumps. There were a few sore ankles, multiple blisters and a couple of stumbles, but the men were great sports and almost all expressed a renewed appreciation for the women in their lives who spend every day in the “uncomfortable” albeit adorable footwear. Prizes were awarded for the “cutest shoes,” the “best walker” and the “highest fundraiser” (that award went to the Lee Real Estate Team!)

It is overwhelming to witness the lengths Nantucket people go to in their efforts to show support and make a difference in the lives of their island friends and neighbors facing difficulties. At different times throughout the year, you can walk in support of Autism Speaks, attend a benefit concert for those facing long term illness or injury or join a Swim Across America team to raise money for cancer. The opportunities to support great causes while on Nantucket are limitless…and local organizations have done an amazing job finding creative ways for participants to have fun in the process.

What cause would you like to support this summer? You can gather friends and family to enjoy a night under the stars to benefit the Maria Mitchell Association, get your “summer grove” on at the annual Nantucket Boys and Girls Club fundraiser or throw on your tennis shoes and sign up for one of the many walking or racing events designed to make someone else’s Nantucket story a little brighter.

Walk A Mile

Shellie Dunlap

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