Welcoming Home Road For Hope

Our Road for Hope walkers are doing very well out on the road journeying back to campus. Today they are in good spirits (the weather has been amazing this week) and are anxiously approaching their final destination. Thank you for all the love and support you have given them throughout this journey.

Road For Hope returns to campus

By the end of today they will have completed approximately 115 of their 130 mile journey. They are due to arrive on campus at the new Main Entrance between 12:30 and 1 p.m. on Saturday.

If you are able to come, please make arrangements to be here by 12:15 p.m. We ask you NOT to park along the main entrance or campus roadways but to proceed onto campus to the parking lot behind the Coffee Shop.

Upon their arrival we will take several pictures and then send them on their way to shower (much needed), rest, and spend time with friends/family.

See you on Saturday!


The Simple Act of Walking

Thursday was "heartbreak hill" day on Road For Hope, as the group made their way from Rochester to Northwood, New Hampshire, approaching the 100-miles walked mark by the end of the day. The hill has developed a bit of a legacy among past participants, standing out among the many challenging moments in the journey that is now just two days (and approximately 30 miles) from completion.

Road For Hope 2017So it comes as no surprise that in the midst of a 16-mile day, many decided not to walk the hill, but rather, to run it. A stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a few treats (and caffeine) was a welcome reward.

We caught up with several walkers in the evening, after they had settled in at St. Joseph's Church, resting up for today's trek of 14 miles to the town of Candia, on the outskirts of Manchester. After six days on the road, a common theme emerged from first-time, and repeat walkers: an appreciation for the simplicity of this pilgrimage, and gratitude for those sharing in the journey.

"I really didn't have expectations coming into this experience," says Molly Benson '19, a first-time walker. "Every day I'm just shocked by the abilities of myself and others…abilities that we didn't know we had. Physical endurance, even the ability to have hours-long conversations with fellow Anselmians that I didn't know before this experience. I have developed friendships so quickly," she continued.

In looking ahead to Saturday's return to campus, Benson paused, before saying: "the place you return to is different because of the experience you have while you're gone."

Maddie Dunn '18 is participating in her second Road For Hope, but is experiencing this year's journey with a different perspective. "I absolutely loved last year's walk, but there's a reason I'm back again," she said. "The motivation behind Road For Hope my first time was more about how much I could push myself. This year, I have focused on the charities, and the mission of this program."

The simplicity of Road For Hope has impacted Dunn as well. "Everything we have is on our back. We stay in simple accommodations. All that we receive, is due to the generosity of those around us," she said. "The simplicity of this journey makes us so much more appreciative of what we do have, and reminds us when we receive something, how grateful and fortunate we are."

Dunn emphasized the importance of conversation, and focusing on the most simple things during the day. "There were people I came in to this walk knowing, I was friends with them, but then I would have conversations with them while we were walking…If you don't keep talking, you'll think about your feet, or how many miles are left in the day. This experience just opens us up to one another," she said.

"Our conversations have become deeper as the week has gone on," says Molly Ridge '18, a first-time walker. "Everyone is very open, and there's so much trust among the group. This journey really feels like a group traveling as a family now. We're walking for each other, and for the charities along the way."

Jeremy Letteri '18 is a first-time walker, and summed up his experience simply. "It's quickly become our lives to just wake up, walk, and have a good time with it," he said. "I'm just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other."

Crossing the Border: Day 4 and 5

Our walkers crossed the Maine/New Hampshire this afternoon, pausing briefly to celebrate the occasion. With five days of walking now behind them, they have settled in at the St. Charles Children's Home, a favorite overnight stop, and morale booster for tired legs and sun burnt faces. With about 80 miles under their feet, the remaining three days in New Hampshire will cover the remaining fifty-or-so miles to Saint Anselm, and the group's return to campus on Saturday.

Road For Hope crossing the Maine/NH borderTuesday's walk – the shortest of the week, at 11.5 miles, brought the group over the halfway point as they trekked from East Waterboro to Sanford, Maine. We'll be checking in with the group on Thursday, and look forward to sharing some reflections from participants as they continue to make a difference, one footstep at a time!

Generosity Abounds: Day 2 and 3

The past two days have brought the Road For Hope walkers from Gray to Waterboro, Maine! They have traveled over 34 miles since Sunday, bringing the total distance covered to 52 miles so far. Spirits remain high as the walkers chant through the miles, making it through two of the longest days of the week. Despite countless blisters and aching bodies from shouldering their packs, one message is clear from the walkers: their incredible gratitude for the generosity that others have passed onto them.

“I forgot about how positive people can get even when spirits get low," says Cassie Disaia '19. "I always like how all the people at the churches we stay at talk about how kids don't get involved with this kind of stuff anymore. Sometimes I forget about how unique of an experience this is.”

A long trek through the back roads of Maine, was accented by the heat, with a focus on hydration and sunscreen on Sunday. Jon and Cindy, parents of Joey Smith '18 provided lunch and hospitality for the group, before they trekked on the the Deeper Well Church to end the weekend.

The group awoke on Monday to an outstanding breakfast, prepared by the members of the church. With this great start of the day, they began their longest day of the walk (more than 18 miles). The day was punctuated by several family visits, including Ashley Cryer '18’s mom, Adelina Katzounas '20’s mother and grandmother, and Giovanna Beaulieu '19’s family in celebration of her 20th birthday. The walkers were also surprised with a visit from the family of Caroline Ireland '19. Although Caroline is not walking this year, her family still wanted to stop by to support those making the trek.

Observing the eclipse on the Road For HopeCampus Minister Andy Fellows, who is accompanying the group, surprised the walkers with glasses to observe the solar eclipse, bringing an unexpected highlight to day three on the road. Ice cream (and some Maine tourist tee-shirts) were gobbled up during one of the day's rest breaks. Dinner was provided by the Smith family, as the walkers arrived in Waterboro for the evening.

Tuesday will bring the group to Sanford, as the walkers spend their last full day in Maine, and reach the halfway point of their journey.

This post was authored by Road For Hope alumna Maggie Lynch '17

WCSH-TV Profiles Road For Hope

Day two brought journalists from WCSH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine to the Road For Hope, as the group walked from Gray to Standish. With a broadcast that reaches the entire state of Maine, and parts of New Hampshire, the group is excited to spread the word about Road For Hope's mission beyond those who see (and hear) the group walk by.

Watch the WCSH story »

Walking the Road For HopeSpecial thanks to the Smith family, who catered lunch on Sunday, with sandwiches donated by Amato's, and to The Deeper Well Church and Pastor Mark, for hosting our walkers Sunday night. We're told the group should expect quite the breakfast when they wake up on Monday morning!

A more detailed post about Sunday's walk will be posted on Monday, including a few reflections from students on the road.