An enthusiastic crowd gathered the morning of Oct. 5 in Mylott Hall, adjacent to historic St. Augustine Church in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.
“This is more than just a fundraiser,” said Marilyn Scott, director of disability services for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland’s Disability Services and Ministries. “It’s a ‘friendraiser.’”
The Walk of Hope, which began in 1977, originally was a walk-a-thon that originated from multiple locations. Over the years, the concept has been refocused. It now circles the perimeter of Lincoln Park, which is across West 14th Street from St. Augustine Church.
About 75 people participated this year. As walkers arrived at the church hall, they registered, received a goody bag and were able to enjoy pastries, juice, coffee, water and social time. Dennis McNulty, retired director of disability services, served as DJ for the event. There also were photo collages and a video of photos from previous walks.
The group moved outdoors at 10:45 a.m. to line up under bright blue, sunny skies and volunteers handed out purple and white balloons. Walkers included some participants in the Disabilities Services and Ministries programs, their families and friends and other supporters of the ministry. They lined up behind a large, orange Walk of Hope Banner carried by volunteers. After carefully crossing West 14th, the group began its circuit around the park.
Some chanted and others just chatted as they completed the route. When finished, everyone returned to Mylott Hall for more refreshments, social time and a drawing for raffle prizes. This year’s prizes included gift certificates to area restaurants, Playhouse Square shows, Cleveland Orchestra tickets, T-shirts, coffee mugs and more.
Sponsors of the 2019 walk were Beacon of Hope, Gabriel’s Gift and Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
After the event, walk participants were encouraged to spend some time exploring the sites, eateries and businesses in Tremont.
The walk-a-thon was created in 1977 by some parents of persons with disabilities, including the Katelic, Darr and Bill Tighe families. In 2007, the name was changed to the Walk of Hope in memory of the late Jim Beers, who was wheelchair-bound after suffering a stroke but continued to participate in the walk with his wife, Mary Lou. All funds raised at the event will benefit the community-based programs and parish ministries for persons with disabilities, their loved ones and their supporters.
Some of the programs aided by the walk include Camp Happiness, Continuing Adult Education and Social Program, socials and activities for people with disabilities, referral support for families, special programs for the deaf and hard of hearing, blind and mentally ill and many ministries that integrate persons with disabilities into Church and society.
Disability Ministries’ 35th annual Journey to Bethlehem will take place at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 at St. Augustine Church, 2486 W. 14th St., Cleveland. Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries will celebrate the Mass. All people with developmental disabilities, their families, friends, catechists and advocates are invited to attend.
A light lunch will follow the liturgy. For more information, call 216-334-2963 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Disability Services and Ministries, click HERE.