• Zach Paone

Steptember - The Walk to End Youth Homelessness



Stella’s day usually follows the same pattern: she wakes up before dawn at the shelter then walks to work. She takes 2,200 steps, just getting there and spends an eight hour shift on her feet. After clocking out, she takes 3,500 steps to Stepping Stones to eat a late lunch, shower, and relax before we close. Between then and the shelter opening, she roams around the city to kill time, sometimes taking up to 7,000 steps, stopping at the soup kitchen for the evening meal along the way.

By the time she lays down at the shelter to repeat the whole cycle again, she has taken up to 20,000 steps that day. This routine might sound grueling, particularly in the summer, but it is also necessary both so Stella can work and maintain her mental health, which is more frail now that her time at the shelter is almost up. With September upon us and the warmth of summer waning, she is feeling more desperate every day that her housing application is pending.

Even when she walks solo, Stella is not alone. There are hundreds more just like her, walking more out of necessity than for health and leisure. We are proud of all the positive stories that begin the day that a homeless young person first walks through the door at Stepping Stones, but few think about what it even takes for them to get here. Only a handful of our youth can reliably count on rides; all others walk.

To raise awareness and appreciation for the daily reality of our youth, Stepping Stones is hosting a virtual walk called Steptember, in which our supporters are challenged to spend their weeks walking as much as our youth do in one day. The event runs from September 12th through September 26th and you can participate at your own convenience. To sign up and start a campaign to raise sponsorships from friends and family, visit our Steptember Homepage. Whether you plan to walk with friends or prefer to go it alone, know that you are walking for a good cause. We are asking our supporters to raise one penny per step by sharing their campaign with friends and family, which they can easily contribute to through the Steptember website. The walking goal for each week will be 20,000 steps, which youth like Stella take every day. At the end of two weeks, walkers will have taken 40,000 steps and raised $400 for the youth at Stepping Stones.

Participating in Steptember gives you a chance to walk in the shoes of our youth, while also raising funds for the only drop-in center for homeless youth in the Nashua area. Whether you bask in the waning warmth of summer or encounter the first bitter chills of autumn, enjoy your walk and think of youth like Stella. Maybe they walked there once, too. Maybe they’ll even walk beside you. All we know for sure is that they are out there. Walking.





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