By Mark Hallum
The Center for the Women of New York will be hosting its 10th annual walk-a-thon Sept. 22 near Fort Totten to raise funds in an effort to continue empowering women to rise above difficult situations.
CWNY founder Ann Jawin established the organization 30 years ago to provide assistance to victims of domestic abuse through support groups and job training. At the Saturday walk-a-thon, the organization will be celebrating the progress made in renovating its Fort Totten headquarters, which will open next spring.
“We’re very, very concerned with women’s economic status so that they can be independent and have meaningful, rewarding careers,” Jawin said, listing off the various programs the organization is looking to fund alongside the renovation of the facility. “All of that needs to be funded and the walk-a-thon provides us with funds for that and also (provides) a way for people to get together and have some fun, get to know each other. Every year we try to build it up.”
CWNY currently operates out of a facility in Queens Borough Hall, which the organization has called home for years, as renovations for the new center have been prolonged by about a decade of setbacks and bureaucracy.
When CWNY acquired the building at 207 Totten Ave., which was formerly owned by the U.S. military as the offices of enlisted men, it was in such a state of disrepair that only animals were occupying the space.
For the building to be used by humans, a new infrastructure had to be installed under the guidance of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, CWNY is required to install an elevator in the building. That alone will cost the organization approximately $1 million, according to Jawin.
Originally projected to cost the organization $500,000 and take a year to complete, the bill for the perennial project is going to cost CWNY about $3 million before it is finished.
But only the top floor will be opened in the spring, Jawin said, which will give CWNY time to install the elevator
About 100 people joined CWNY for the its annual walk last year.
The walk-a-thon will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will finish with a special ceremony attended by elected officials and community leaders at the new facility.
There is a $15 registration fee and additional donations will be accepted. The walk will stretch about two miles, or three kilometers.
Anyone who is unable to walk the distance is encouraged to join the rally.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall