La PORTE — A community of superheroes truly united on May 18.

Stepping Stone Shelter’s annual Missions Against Violence Walk/Run raised $10,000, the organization said, saw a record number of participants and encouraged a community of “superheroes” to help stop violence. The event took place May 18 at Kesling Park in La Porte.

This is the fifth year for the fundraiser and participation was at its highest ever, according to Stepping Stone Executive Director Nanda Danitschek. 

“Next year, we hope to double our numbers, and with more strategic planning and organization, we will get there!” she said. “Our race committee is empowering and collaborative and along with the board, we all make a fantastic team.”

Missions Against Violence 2019 brought 75 participants, 28 sponsors, and 23 organizations providing prizes. Prizes were awarded for the youngest and most seasoned participants, best costumes, best mother/son costume, and of course, first and second place for the 5K run. According to Danitschek, the event only attracted seven men brave enough to walk the mile in heels. Five of those were young boys. So the staff decided to award all of them with prizes.

Another hit for the day was Stepping Stone’s pie throwing event. Board member Frank Lindquist and Chief Deputy Ron Heeg of the La Porte County Sherrif’s Department took pies to the face from excited participants, Danitschek said. Once the pies starting flying, many students jumped in on the fun and a free-for-all was on. On the other side of the field kids received superhero tattoos, hero bracelets and masks, and played field games. There was also plenty of snacks and drinks provided by Jimmy Johns and Stepping Stone staff and race committee to keep everyone’s energy high.

Stepping Stone Shelter was founded in 1983 and continues to be the only shelter serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in La Porte County, according to a Stepping Stone press release. As the longest running shelter in Northwest Indiana, Stepping Stone is greatful for the generosity and support of the community which makes the work possible. Over the next year the organization aims to expand their outreach and educational programming with special emphasis on servicing South County areas often left out on the outskirts of reach.

To Stepping Stone Shelter, contact Danitschek by email at nanda@steppingstoneshelter.org, or by calling (219) 871-6895 to set up a meeting.

—From staff reports 

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