A group of Midcoast residents recently "walked a mile in their shoes" to raise awareness and money to support ChildVoice, an organization that helps children forced to serve as soldiers or otherwise affected by war.

"ChildVoice International was born in April 2006 after visits to Uganda revealed the hidden horrors of a long-running war," according to the ChildVoice website. Children in that war-torn region are often kidnapped and forced to become soldiers, marching through the bush and carrying out acts of brutality on villagers across Northern Uganda. "An estimated 30,000 children have been abducted since the war’s start. Many have escaped and found their way back to their home communities – many of them shadows of their former selves. These children face innumerable hardships, from post-traumatic stress disorder to lack of education.

"…Around the world there are at least 35 conflict zones where children are used as soldiers or are otherwise direct victims of war.

"…ChildVoice International is a non-profit organization seeking to restore the voices of children silenced by war. ChildVoice acts on the conviction that children broken by war can be restored in safe communities with loving care, spiritual and emotional counseling, and effective education and vocational training."

Locally, Reade Brower and Bill Bryon organized two walks in which the walkers each donated $20 to the cause and symbolically walked a mile in the children's shoes. On July 1 a group hiked Mt. Battie and on July 3 a group walked the Breakwater in Rockland.

The effort raised $550 for the worthy cause.

Bryon, who is chairman on the ChildVoice Board of Directors, plans to be part of a mission trip to Uganda in October to witness the situation first-hand.

Some who could not come to the walk, donated and served as "virtual walkers."

The participants were:

Reade Brower

Martha Brower

Rita Buckley

Maxina Fernald

Lucinda Ziesing

Kathy Kandziolka

Carrie Hedstrom

Cameron Hedstrom

Theodore Hedstrom

Pearl Hedstrom

“Virtual walkers” Tom Hedstrom and Jim Buckley

Katie and Brooke Benedict

Dan Dunkle

Andrea Space

Jenn Rich

Lyn Tesseyman

“Virtual walkers” Sally Cowan, Diana and Simon Castle, Joe McGurn, Rebecca Jacobs, Alan Hinsey and Becky Hinsey.

For more information visit childvoiceintl.org or contact Bill.Bryon@Comcast.net.