By Carrie Yamato, Special to the News
Thursday, October 25, 2012 2:09 PM PDT
“This is probably one of the biggest checks we will get this year,” said PEF Executive Director Andrea Sala. “We’ve been involved in the walk since it started four years ago, and every year the amount we earn grows.”
Last year, more than 2,000 supporters participated in the 3.4-mile walk between Manhattan Beach Pier and Hermosa Beach Pier, and it brought it more than $88,000.
This year, team captain Sala hopes to get at least 3,000 walkers.
“We’ve always had the most walkers, so we’ve gotten the biggest check the last two years,” said Sala. “We want to win again!”
In addition to each walker’s $25 registration fee, PEF receives funds from the event based on the number of actual and virtual walkers it has on its team. The proceeds go directly to the school district to help maintain staff, small class sizes and special programs.
“We don’t know what the formula is [for distributing the funds], but if you do the math from last year, it’s a significant amount,” said Sala. “So if you can’t come out, be a virtual walker for us because we’ll get credit for that as well.”
While funds raised from the walk benefit education foundations in the South Bay from El Segundo to Palos Verdes including Torrance, the walk primarily secures money for the Friendship Circle, a South Bay nonprofit that brings social and recreational opportunities to special needs kids at schools and in the community. Regardless of what the education foundations earn, funds from the walk are specifically allocated to the Friendship Circle.
Danielle Lindgren, a junior at Palos Verdes High School and president of PVHS’s Friendship Circle, is hoping to increase proceeds by enlisting the help of walkers.
“I put posters around school, handed out brochures and just tried to share my story with people,” said Lindgren, who has been active with the Friendship Circle since she was in eighth grade.
Lindgren was even able to convince a few teachers to give students extra credit for walking.
“The teachers realize how important it is to raise money for our schools and the Friendship Circle program,” she said.
Lindgren is looking forward to hitting the Strand with some of her Friendship Circle friends.
“Last year, I walked with a couple of kids with special needs, and it was a lot of fun,” she said. “I don’t think of them as my friends with special needs. We just hang out and have fun. The little things that we take for granted excite them so much, and I love it.”
This year, celebrities Tommy Lasorda, Brooke Burke-Charvet and Denise Austin, as well as local bands and cheer teams, will root for the walkers. There will also be booths, activities, goodie bags and more.
“The walk is a fun and wonderful way to come out and enjoy the beautiful ocean views, get some exercise and participate with the Palos Verdes community toward a common goal of supporting our schools,” said Sala. “We love our schools, and we have a lot of community pride, so let’s show that to the whole South Bay.”
Skechers Pier to Pier Walk will be held on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 9 am at the Manhattan Beach Pier. To participate or to sign up as a virtual walker, log on to www.skechersfriendshipwalk.com. Click on “register,” then sign up on PEF or your school’s team and designate PEF as the group you want to support.
Carrie Yamato is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to the News.