More than 500 people of all ages—and at least a dozen dogs—took to the streets of New London on a warm spring afternoon to raise $25,269 during the 10th annual Walk to End Homelessness, April 23, 2017.
As participants prepared to set out on the 1.6-mile walk though the city, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron said the walk was a great example of community spirit.
“It is inspiring to see the energy that is brought by the entire New London community in helping to address this important social problem,” Bergeron said.
Students in the College’s Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy organized the event in partnership with the New London Homeless Hospitality Center. All proceeds from the walk benefit the NLHHC, which provides shelter and support services for hundreds of people in southeastern Connecticut who need temporary or long-term assistance.
First-time participant and organizer Jenaya Amore ’19 was all smiles as she registered walkers and took donations in the minutes before the walk began. She said she was thrilled to be part of what has become a favorite tradition of Holleran Center students.
“I wanted to be involved because I really believe community action plays an integral part in making change,” she said.
Donning a Connecticut College hat, New London Mayor Michael Passero ’79 M’89 said it was good to see so many familiar faces working to fulfill an important need. He thanked the NLHHC and the College.
“The work [Connecticut College] students do for this community—we wouldn’t be who we are without it,” he said.
The event included musical performances by Ben and Nancy Parent of The Rivergods, the student a cappella group Vox Cameli and the Raging Grannies, as well as spoken word performances by Viri Villalva-Salas ’20, Juan Garcia ’20 and Verdi Degbey ’20. Portraits of people who have utilized the NLHHC, created by Mei Reffsin ’17, were also on display.
Cathy Zall, director of the NLHHC, said that while the walk is about ending homelessness, it is also about celebrating New London.
“This is a place of compassion, where none of our neighbors experiencing homelessness are left alone.”