BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — They say “you don’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” one local man is taking that phrase literally, lacing up his walking shoes to shine a light on domestic violence and child abuse. He’s making a trek around the nation shedding a light on the challenges facing victimized youth in Kern County.
Founded in 2011, Y-Empowerment is on a mission to walk across America, bringing awareness to domestic violence and child abuse.
Founder, Robert Hogan said he initially got the idea for the walk when he mentioned walking for health reasons to his wife, and it grew from there. He said “why stop at the neighborhood, I’m gonna walk across the United States and I’m gonna raise awareness on child abuse.”
Hogan kicked off his journey July 4th in San Francisco and has already walked 500 miles. He walks for 12 hours each day in the sweltering heat but refuses to throw in the towel, stating the cause is “too important to give up.”
Hogan said “If I was to stop now and just give up now nothing would change… there’s no giving up, the kids don’t have a choice, I’m gonna keep on going for them.”
It’s a passion that Hogan said developed out of his own trauma. He shared that his upbringing is something he wants to prevent from happening to anyone else.
In December, Hogan plans to conclude his walk at the Statue of Liberty, a deliberate move that he said is in tribute to the very first child abuse case that was tried in New York.
With his family occasionally accompanying him on the walks, Hogan said he’s more determined than ever to use his voice to stop child abuse in Kern County.
Y-Empowerment hopes to open a facility to provide a safe space for victims, along with mentorship services, and other resources. If you’d like to donate you can do so on their website here.