By TEDDYE SNELL
A number of area men concerned about the prevention of sexual assault will don high heels and wobble down the streets of Tahlequah Saturday, April 20, for the third annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.
Help-In-Crisis Prevention Coordinator Jyme Lowe is in charge of this year’s event, which features men in high heels walking a mile-long circuit.
“I’ve had experience with the event, so I guess that, and luck of the draw, is what put me in the ‘coordinator’ spot,” said Lowe. “But it’s very much a team effort.”
Lowe said registration is still open.
“We have forms available here at the office, and pre-registration, which is $25, will remain open until Friday, April 19,” said Lowe. “Men can also register the morning of the event, April 20, for $30. Registration fees include shoe rental and a T-shirt.”
On average, the HIC Walk A Mile event garners about 250 participants, and Lowe is expecting at least that many this year.
“We have about 400 pairs of shoes in varying sizes,” said Lowe. “While we’ll accept shoe donations, I think we probably have it covered it this year.”
Registration is held at Norris Park, and the walk begins there, runs up through the loop parking lot at Northeastern State University, down Muskogee Avenue to the Cherokee Courthouse Square and back to Norris Park.
“We’ve calculated that route to be right at one mile,” said Lowe. “And we stress to the men that it’s not a race, but a walk to raise awareness.”
Lowe said they’ve never had a major injury, but they’ll be well-equipped to deal with blisters and other minor complaints.
“This year, Walgreens has helped us by providing foot powder, bandages, adhesive bandages and other things we might need for our first-aid station,” said Lowe. “We will also have people from Tahlequah City Hospital manning the station, so I think we’re prepared.”
This year’s event has expanded to include races, said Lowe.
“At Norris Park, we’ll have a 40-yard dash, a three-legged race and an egg relay the men, still wearing high heels, can participate in,” said Lowe. “We really want to get the entire community – including families – involved, so we’ll have a kids’ zone, too.”
The kids’ zone will feature a petting zoo, a bounce house, temporary tattoos, face-painting and an arts and crafts area.
“We’re also having a coloring contest,” said Lowe. “We’ve dropped off coloring pages with a high-heeled shoe to be colored at all the elementary schools. Students can color them, then bring them to Walk A Mile on Saturday, where they’ll be judged. We’ll have winners in for each grade level.”
Lowe said this year’s event will also see the return of the silent auction.
“That auction is always really popular,” said Lowe. “All the proceeds generated by the fundraiser will help offset the federal funding cuts we’ve experienced recently. The money is used to keep our shelter and agency afloat.”