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Walking 24 hours for The Family Centre

Walking for 24 hours straight may seem a difficult task, but one woman is gearing up to do so for the ninth year in a row. To donate to Ms Steede’s 24-Hour walk-a-thon in honour of The Family Centre telephone 232-1116.

Over the past decade, Marilyn Steede has raised close to $110,000 for charities across the Island through her 24-hour walk-a-thon.

This year she is setting her sights on The Family Centre which is facing a growing demand on its services as more families are challenged in these tough economic times.

Ms Steede has raised funds for other charities close to her heart in the past.

She read in the newspaper about the work being done by executive director Martha Dismont and then stumbled upon the charity’s annual report. It painted a grim picture of the problems facing some of the Island’s young people.

“Both times [the information] was just there in front of me,” she said. “I was really tuned in because it was all there in front of my face.”

Ms Steede will start her walk on Saturday at 8am from the Angle Street Community Centre. The Family Centre is appealing to its community and corporate partners to raise $150,000 to meet their end-of-year budget.

Ms Steede also has a personal goal to raise $3,000 by reaching out to family and friends on the Island.

According to Ms Dismont, she is always “thrilled” whenever anyone wants to do something to help the charity. But she said it was “even more beautiful” to learn of Ms Steede taking part in a gruelling 24-hour walk on the charity’s behalf.

“It takes up some of our load because fundraising is a lot of work in this community so the fact she was not only interested in supporting children, but helping us raise money, is outstanding.

“On top of that is a very humble woman who is giving back. That is just the icing on the cake.”

She said the number of families in need of counselling and support services has doubled recently; at one point this year there was a waiting list of nearly 20 young people for its homework programme. In addition to that, The Family Centre like many other charities has suffered from budget cuts.

“The best thing I believe at this point is Bermuda, especially the private companies, have tried to step it up and focus their cash on families in need and those who work with families and children,” said Ms Dismont.

“They recognise it’s an issue. The Family Centre has gotten through this year because companies have stepped up.

“We are asking again and trying to target companies who haven’t given yet.”

Ms Steede said she wanted to help the charity after realising we are all “in a position to get these young people in the right direction”.

She admitted there would be challenges along the day-long hike.

She will have to eat sandwiches and snacks and drink water while continuing with her walk. She will have to forgo sleep and battle possibly diverse weather conditions and steep roadways to complete the task at 8am on Sunday.

Keeping the charity in mind usually motivates her to continue. “As far as I am concerned I can’t fail if I am going to take money for it.”

She is also hoping members of the public take time out of their day to walk alongside her for a little while.

“Sometimes there are people who will walk an hour with me. Everyone who comes out says ‘I will stay for half an hour’ and they end up staying longer.

“One guy said he doesn’t usually walk and would stay for half an hour. He walked for six hours and ended up with blisters on his feet, but he was happy to do it.”

She said such kindnesses help her to forget about the time.

From left: Martha Dismont, Marilyn Steede and Belinda Barbieri (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published November 15, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 15, 2011 at 7:46 am)

Walking 24 hours for The Family Centre

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