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Girls and women walk for health

Walk In it Inc. announces that 435 girls and women participated in the sixth annual Stepping Out for Self-Esteem Walk and Rally on Sept. 30.

The theme of this year’s walk was Healthy from Head to Heel. Registration for the event was $25 per person and included a special Walk In It Package.

The event began with a 1.25 mile walk at 9 a.m. at King’s Fork Middle School. Following the walk, participants joined Executive Director Jennell Riddick in the school auditorium for the rally portion of the event. The halls of the school were open for shopping Walk In It gear, taking pictures and camaraderie.

The rally began with a roll call of attending schools. Several schools participated from Suffolk, Franklin, Southampton County and Chesapeake. The Lady Iconz Step Team performed a step exhibition. The Jumpstarz from Richmond then performed a double-dutch routine and taught participants how to double-dutch. Girls and women participated in a jump rope contest while Jumpstarz owner Patricia Clement discussed the importance of cardio and physical activity for improving overall health.

Following the performances, Riddick addressed the crowd with information about the Ladies of Distinction program and highlighted key self-esteem principles. She also rallied the participants to eat healthy, participate in physical activity, be confident, walk in their purpose, be themselves and encourage others. Ladies of Distinction participants then joined Riddick on the stage to present what they have learned while taking part in the program.

Later, schools who participated in the spirit competition were awarded Community Spirit and School Attendance awards. The event concluded with the reciting of the Ladies of Distinction motto; “I am a Lady. A Lady of Distinction. I am proud to be me. I walk confidently knowing that greatness lies within me. I am strong and I know that others’ opinions of me don’t make me. I set high standards and strive for the best knowing I deserve nothing less. I am a Lady. A Lady of Distinction.”

“We are grateful to King’s Fork Middle for, again, opening their school to us for this awesome event,” Riddick said. “It is very inspiring to see so many girls and women come together to celebrate and encourage each other. Our site coordinators and staff did a great job. We are also excited to have community partners such as Obici Healthcare Foundation, Hampton Roads Community Foundation and local sponsors who showed support this year.”

Through Walk In It initiatives and programming, the organization has successfully assisted in the empowerment and molding of more than 6,000 girls throughout Western Tidewater since 2004. The mission of Walk In It is to encourage, empower and equip girls and women to be holistically healthy and strong educationally, emotionally, socially and physically.

The Ladies of Distinction program is an initiative of Walk In It with a purpose to provide continuing support and life-skill instruction to girls ages 9-18. The program achieves this goal through mentoring and tutoring sessions, empowerment conferences and awareness events. Currently, the program reaches more than 600 girls monthly at 18 elementary, middle and high schools throughout Suffolk, Franklin, Southampton County and Chesapeake. To learn more about Walk In It and Jennell Riddick, visit www.walkinit.com.