The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 9, 2014

Not an easy walk

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Ashford University’s bravest men on Tuesday strutted their stuff in 6-inch, stiletto heels to raise awareness for victims of sexual and domestic abuse.

Students, faculty and staff took part in the second installment of the “Heels for Her” event, and for the first time, they raised more than $250 to be donated to the YWCA Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Resource Center.

Ashford’s Service Learning Manager Audra Adams spearheaded the event, enlisting the help of her student-employees to not only assist with the afternoon race, but to participate in the competition as well.

“The students volunteered their time and we had 15 students who were involved,” Adams said. “We have a really cool culture of service at Ashford University so every student was happy to participate.”

Among those students was Branden Lambiase, who not only volunteered his time for the event for the second year, but also endured the physical pain of running in the ruby-red, high heels.

For Lambiase, volunteering is a big part of his life and fighting against domestic violence toward women is something he is strongly passionate about.

“Volunteering, in essence, is a big part of why I went to college,” he said.

He wasn’t alone. Joined by dozens of his peers and many of his teachers and mentors, Lambiase showed support for the YWCA and the goal of empowering women everywhere.

And that is exactly what Adams had hoped for when she began the Heels for Her event.

Molded around the national campaign, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Adams’ aim was not only to generate awareness for sexual violence, domestic abuse and crimes against women on a global spectrum, but to bring the attention a little closer to home.

“It is important for students to understand the issues,” Adams said. “Many young women in college face potential dangers and it is crucial that our students are made aware of the resources they have around them.”

In order to ensure that as many students as possible could be reached by the message, she enlisted the help of staff and faculty who stepped up to the challenge of racing in heels.

And while Tuesday’s event delivered a relevant and serious message, many smiles were had as students watched their favorite teachers and campus staff encounter the struggles of being a woman.

Not only were they required to run in stiletto heels, but the men were forced to carry a purse, tote a pretend baby, all the while talking on a cellphone, to encompass the multitasking abilities of a mother.

Some accomplished the feat better than others, but Adams said she couldn’t have been happier with the dedication of each participant in Tuesday’s race.

“Our staff play a huge role in encouraging students to get involved,” Adams said. “It shows our students that our staff cares about it and that it means a whole lot to everyone.”