This year’s annual Steps for Kids walk was like no other. A mere two months before we were supposed to all get together to celebrate the strength of our youth, stand up against the stigma of mental illness and raise funds for the Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Like many other events in Waterloo Region, that could have been the end of it, with the walk being cancelled or postponed. However, our staff, volunteers, sponsors and community are far too resilient to sit back and do nothing when there are youth in need.
So, this year, Steps for Kids looked a little bit different as it moved online and became a virtual, socially distanced event to keep participants safe.
With a modified COVID-19 fundraising goal of $75,000, sponsors and participants walked in their neighbourhoods with their families or on their treadmills at home and shared their walks on social media. Kids and families played our online Steps Board Game filled with virtual and physical activities and videos, including one from RBC Sponsored Olympian Mandy Bujold.
During the entirety of Children’s Mental Health Week, May 3rd to 9th, we were humbled by the dedication and compassion of the hundreds of people who stepped up literally and virtually with us. Because of our incredible community, we were able to blow our more modest goal out of the water and raise over $100,000 for youth mental health programs in our region, all without even being able to hold our physical event.
Our many sponsors went above and beyond, including COPP Communications and St. Jacob’s Printery who donated their time and services to design our virtual boardgame and print our materials, and RBC who increased their donation to help us pass the $100,000 milestone. Countless more donated funds or in-kind services to the cause and have already agreed to join us again in 2021.
Thank you to all who came together in these difficult times to create something incredible and unique. We are so looking forward to seeing you and thanking you all in person next year on Sunday May 2nd, 2021!