“[10,000 Steps for BJP] is the embodiment of Fairfield University’s and Brooklyn Jesuit Prep’s shared Jesuit mission; to accompany our youth on a hope filled future. I offer my gratitude to the team at Brooklyn Jesuit Prep for their trust and faith in us and the formative impact of this program, and to BJP for their engagement.”
- Mark R. Nemec, 9th President of Fairfield University
At camp this summer, BJP students walked proudly with the Fairfield community in a show of solidarity around Fairfield’s campus. On the morning of July 22nd, over 120 members of Fairfield University’s administration, Fairfield Prep’s administration, the Fairfield University basketball team, Campus Ministry Offices, Jesuit Community, and so many more met the BJP students at the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola. The sights and sounds were tremendous! A DJ heralded a balloon arch, serenading arriving guests as they fueled up on coffee and bagels.
BJP was absolutely floored by the hospitality of our friends at Fairfield. “We are called to generosity in the Jesuit tradition, seeking to always live as citizens for others,” said Brooklyn Jesuit Prep Principal Russell Quiñones in his welcome. “I am grateful for all of your generosity and your time to support our school community here at 10,000 steps for BJP.”
Pretty soon, it was time to get started! Anyone could’ve picked us out as we sported custom t-shirts with Fairfield’s and BJP’s logos. As the walk began, the communities mingled, and it was a beautiful sight to see. Fairfield took our campers to school- literally! From Egan Chapel, our walkers circled the campus and walked our BJP campers to Fairfield Prep, where they began their classes. All told, our walkers walked 800,000 steps, putting a serious dent in our 2.5 million step goal!
There were so many camps and visitors at Fairfield during BJP’s stay in July! “We could have easily flown under the radar, but it was wonderful to be supported like this,” said Giancarlo Milea, BJP’s Director of Development. “We loved highlighting our common Jesuit identity and celebrating the relationship between our schools.” Seventh grader Tyler said that he “had a lot of fun walking with [his] friends. What made it special was knowing that we were walking for our school.” Jennifer Anderson, a fellow walker and Fairfield University’s Vice-President for Marketing and Communications, noted that she was “honored to participate in Brooklyn Jesuit Prep’s 10,000 Steps alongside the amazing students who spent three weeks this summer immersed in classes and co-curricular activities on the campus of Fairfield University. The excitement and energy was high, and smiles a-plenty. The Fairfield Community values our partnership with Brooklyn Jesuit Prep and looks forward to taking many more steps in the future!”
10,000 Steps for BJP began in July, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea was to create a school spirit event for the BJP community on Instagram. “We wanted to find a way for our community to gather and get active at a time when we couldn't really gather,” said BJP President Fr. Mario Powell, S.J. “It became clear to us that this was something our supporters were excited about. Our supporter community and our extended families truly span the globe, so this event is a wonderful way for people to engage with us despite physical distances.”
The Walkathon has also become a significant summer fundraiser for the school. In its first year, the walk raised $5,000, a number that shot up to $15,000 in its second year! This year, the school is going for an ambitious-but-attainable $20,000. "The proceeds from the Walkathon support our efforts at BJP: to provide transformative education to our students. We fundraise over 95% of our operating expenses, so we're grateful for every donation to 10,000 Steps to BJP," says Milea. But there's more:
“We love the Walkathon because it gives so many people different ways to express what BJP means to them. Folks who can’t walk can sponsor walkers. People who can’t afford to donate can share their school spirit and show their support. Our walkers range from casual families going for a stroll to marathon trainers! At the end of the day, it’s about creating an opportunity for us to show how vibrant our community is, and to share all the stories of how important BJP is to so many.”
This year, the BJP community is upping the game! In addition to walking with our friends at Fairfield, BJP families have organized walks around the world! Ge'Nelle Hernandez plans to walk with her family from Trinidad and Tobago! "The Hernandez/Villaroel family and our extended family members are beyond excited to be walking in Arima, Trinidad on Saturday the 27th of August," says Ge'Nelle. "BJP has welcomed our family with open arms in the past year and our extended family will be walking with us to give back of their time and support to BJP! #BJPTriniFamily!" Closer to school, a group of BJP parents has organized a group walk in Marine Park! "I'm excited about the Walkathon in Marine Park because together, we can do so much!" says Zadine Richardson, a BJP parent and co-organizer of the walk. "BJP is the pathway to excellence."
Want to join us? We'd love to see you out there! Visit bjp.myfunrun.com to learn more, register to walk, and donate! Post photos and videos of your walk and tag BJP (@BrooklynJesuit) on Instagram!