On Sunday, October 27, over 10,000 people participated in a walk to raise money for the Friendship Circle of Southern California, under the leadership of Rabbi Yossi Mintz. Among those attending the ‘Pier to Pier Friendship Walk’ were late-night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, actress Brooke Burke-Charvet, actress Ashley Argota and former L.A. Dodgers pitcher Tommy Lasorda. The walk, sponsored by The Sketchers Foundation, raised over a million dollars to benefit children with special needs.
“It’s amazing for me to see so many people rally together, lending a hand and helping one another for something that’s so important – the educational systems and children with special needs,” said Brooke Burke-Charvet, who attended her fourth year of the walk with husband David Charvet and their four children. “It’s an honor to be here, and I’m so proud to participate in this event.”
“Every October since 2009, we’ve brought a growing community of caring people and an amazing network of local and national sponsors together to raise much needed funds and positively impact children with special needs as well as students in our schools,” began Sketchers president Michael Greenberg. “We started this event with the idea that if everyone does a little, we all benefit a lot, and in the weeks leading up to the Walk, thousands of people did much more than a little. And on Sunday, I saw giving in action. I saw schools rally together. I saw extended families, celebrities, and friends walking together. I saw our community and globally-recognized companies giving for our kids. Steel Partners Foundation joined us in a donation totaling $73,000 on Sunday to help us reach our million-dollar goal. The generosity of all made this possible.”
Greenberg added: “Through this extensive support, we’ve been able to transform the lives of those involved in The Friendship Circle, nurturing the abilities and talents of the children with special needs and creating strong friendships with the many teen volunteers. And we have been able to save programs and provide supplies to our schools. The Pier to Pier Friendship Walk has truly become more than an annual event. It has become a way to truly make a difference, a way for many to make a positive change. And I couldn’t be more proud.”
The Pier to Pier Friendship Walk brought numerous celebrities moved by the cause: Brooke Burke-Charvet, Dancing with the Stars co-host, mother and long-time friend to The Sketchers Foundation; Jimmy Kimmel, late-night talk show host and friend to The Friendship Circle; legendary Hall of Fame baseball manager Tommy Lasorda, a member of the Pier to Pier Walk’s Board of Directors who has appeared at the walk every year since its inception; and actress, singer and Nickelodeon star Ashley Argota, who closed the opening ceremony celebration with a stellar performance of the national anthem.
The Pier to Pier Friendship Walk is now Southern California’s largest event supporting children with special needs and education. Since its start, the walk has raised nearly $3 million to support The Friendship Circle, as well as help save teachers’ jobs, retain vital educational programs, maintain smaller class sizes, improve libraries and upgrade school technology.