Conyers - Men, if you've ever had an urge to wear high-heel shoes and not get laughed at, now is your chance.
Local nonprofit organization 4Sarah Inc., which encourages adult women entertainers to change their lives, is holding its first Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event later this month.
Starting at 9 a.m. July 19 at Victory Tabernacle Church in Conyers, men, women and children will walk a mile in an event to raise awareness to stop violence against women and children in Georgia.
The men are encouraged to wear high-heel shoes during the walk, and so are the women.
Covington resident Kasey McClure, who founded 4Sarah in 2004, learned that the organization, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, originated in California in an effort to end sexualized violence and to raise men's awareness of the problem.
"I wanted to come up with something fun and creative and different," said McClure, whose organization reaches out to women at strip clubs and other adult entertainment locations by giving out baskets and food and providing friendship and church connections.
McClure said she is taking a wait-and-see attitude since this is a first for her organization and she's not certain how participants will react.
"A lot of guys are scared to walk (in high-heel shoes), but we do have a good bit of guys who have agreed to walk in high heels," she said, adding that the first guy who walks across the finish line in his high heels will win $100.
Women also can wear high-heel shoes, and children also are invited to participate in the event.
"We want to get the community involved," McClure said. "It starts at home; it starts with the men - men are very important in the family and they have to be strong father figures. We're trying to spread awareness about that."
She started the organization after her daughter, Sarah, was born in 2004. Before her birth, McClure had worked as an entertainer at two adult establishments. She started the organization to provide help to women who want to leave the industry.
"A lot of the girls we meet, their husbands or boyfriends cheat on them and abuse them; we want to also encourage the guys because women need strong men in their lives," she said.
McClure said she was molested by her father as a child, which led to tumultuous teen years and eventually a career in the adult entertainment industry.
"It really messed up my life," she said. "He stole my innocence and my childhood away from me. ... Girls who are sexually abused learn sex is OK and could use their body as a prostitute or a dancer."
When McClure became a mother, however, she knew she didn't want to raise her child in that kind of environment, so she changed her life and had a vision to change the lives of others in similar situations.
"I want to break the cycle," she said.
McClure said she hopes that by holding a fundraiser where men participate alongside women and children that she can help more and more families who are affected by negative situations.
Registration for the July 19 walk is $25 and includes a T-shirt and lunch. Registration the day of the event begins at 8 a.m. and will cost $35. The first 20 men to register receive free high heels. At 9 a.m., the group will go to the chapel to learn more about 4Sarah and hear Judge Nancy Bills speak about domestic violence and the effect it has on the community.
The walk should begin about 9:30 or 9:45 a.m., McClure said, and should last about an hour. After the walk, lunch will be served and then the event will close with recognition of four organizations that have helped against local domestic violence, including Project ReNeWal, the Rockdale and Newton County chapters of Prevent Child Abuse and the Rockdale Task Force Against Family Violence.
4Sarah also will present gift certificates and other giveaways to participants during a raffle and the walk.
Those who want to register for the event or want more information about volunteering at other events or help 4Sarah in other ways, call 770-788-8584 or visit www.4Sarah.net.
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: If You Go
What: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
An event to benefit 4Sarah
When: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 19 (walk begins at 9 a.m.)
Where: Victory Tabernacle Church, 1151 Flat Shoals Road, Conyers
Cost: $25 preregistration (includes T-shirt and lunch), $35 on the day of the event
For registration and more information: 770-788-8584, www.4Sarah.net