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Bullis Arts Program Raises $23K for Stepping Stones Shelter

Stepping Stones Shelter and Bullis Arts Program benefit from the fundraising run.

The third annual Bullis Gives Back 5K run and 2.5K walk was one for the record books.

The May 15 event at  raised $23,000 for Stepping Stones Shelter in Rockville, nearly doubling last year’s proceeds of $12,000. Also, the event brought 340 participants and more than 100 volunteers, said Nikki DePandi, who co-chaired the Bullis Gives Back event.

“We were thrilled with the turnout, but our happiest moment was when we realized the amount of the funds we raised for Stepping Stones Shelter,” DePandi said.

The money will allow Stepping Stones Shelter to support its emergency/assessment housing program and the HOPE Housing Program — two initiatives that help provide shelter, food and counseling to those in need, said Executive Director of Stepping Stones Shelter Denise Fredericks. Every year, Stepping Stones Shelter serve more than 100 individuals and between 25 and 35 families.

“There is such as dearth of housing subsidy programs in Montgomery County and families have nowhere else to go.  Thus, we provide everything from counseling to helping them connect with any other agencies which can help them move out of the shelter into permanent housing,” Fredericks said. “We are extremely pleased that the Bullis community recognizes and supports our mission.”

Bullis Gives Back is not only a way to help Stepping Stones Shelter, but also a way to instill life-long lessons in students, Fredericks said.

“I cannot say enough for the support of the Bullis community. The students and staff and parent who come here to volunteer are so willing to help us in any way,” she said. “Together, we are impacting youth who will forever see the value of giving back.”

A raffle at the event raised an additional $3,000 for the Bullis Arts, which will go to purchase risers for the school’s choral program, Depandi said.

The race attracted more than just runners. Local DJ Carson, from MIX 107.3 and Julie Wright from Fox 5 served as emcees for the event. 

Conner Harrington, a 13-year-old Bullis student, won the 5K race. He crossed the finish line in 20 minutes, 35 seconds.

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