Story by Story: Climbing for a Cause

by Mariah Castillo

This past week has been one of the busiest weeks I’ve had to endure in a long time. I had to pull all-nighters left and right to study or write papers. I finished my classes at two on Thursday afternoon, making me smile through my sleep-induced haze.

Guess how I celebrated?

By napping. For half an hour.

I went volunteering! I haven’t been able to do that in a while.

Last Thursday night I went to the fourth annual Story by Story stair climb at 245 Park Avenue. This event is hosted by inMotion, an organization that connects women from all walks of life, including women who left abusive partners, with lawyers who are willing to work their case pro bono. inMotion specializes in family law, matrimonial law, and immigration. I was introduced to this organization during Leadership Week with the Emerging Leaders Program back in January and have been getting updates from them ever since.

In this event, potential runners raise money in order to be able to climb up 43 floors of the 245 Park Avenue skyscraper. You have to raise a minimum of $100 in order to be allowed to walk, skip, or run up the tower. Some even climb twice or wear a ten pound belt. There is also the option to scale only half of the tower, and another just to raise money.

I only stayed for a few hours, but the time spent was put to good use. I arrived at the building early for my shift, so I was able to meet with some of the friendly staff. Everyone I’ve met, volunteers and runners alike, was enthusiastic about the event. Everyone who worked at inMotion was at the event, either as team leaders for the 100+ volunteers or as runners themselves.

I was in a team with two employees from the company and a young man who came from work. We were placed at the bib and timing chip station, where we helped runners find space to fill out any emergency contact info (because hey, stuff happens) and to put on their timing chips. Many people had trouble figuring out how to put on the timing chips; some didn’t even know that the oranges pieces of plastic on the back of the bibs were used for something. We had to wrap them around people’s shoe laces, which is something novel to me and many of the people I helped out that night.

The room is purple for domestic violence awareness

What made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside was how everyone, young and old, working or retired, came to participate. The first person to go to the bib and timing chip area was still wearing his scrubs! Corporations such as American Express and BET sent teams to run. The few stragglers who came in late all said they were held up at work. Doing the 9 to 5 and then running up 43 stories is only worth it with a cause. Everyone who ran up the stairs raised over $600,000 for women looking to change their lives.

inMotion only holds two big events during the year (which are both around the busiest times of the school year unfortunately). Aside from the stair-climbing event in the fall, inMotion hosts a photography auction in April. Hayden Greene, the director of Leadership Development at Barnard, gave a photograph to the auction last spring. I found out earlier this week that Hayden was one of the Finish Line photographers last Thursday evening. I must have missed him!

I know that time is precious, especially during midterm season, but a few hours reaching out isn’t going to hurt anyone. It’s one way to relieve stress while making someone’s life a little better. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Mariah Castillo is a sophomore at Barnard and the Food and New York editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of inMotion’s facebook page and Story by Story website.

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