Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

Highmark Walk 2020 "Alone, we can do so little;
together, we can do so much" - Hellen Keller

Dear Community Supporter,

We are asking for your collaboration as community businesses to invest in the youth that will inspire leaders within the next generation across the region, developing their talents, cultures, and values in our community.

Thanks to our supporters, Mission Empower has been able to provide services at no cost to community members with disabilities. Programs that we offer families are; Dyslexia tutoring, career readiness, work experiences with high school students, informative training, and a youth advocacy group that contributes back to the community. Thank you. Today, we are asking once again for your support.

This year with COVID-19 changes, participates can walk in Virtual Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community by July 15, 2020. The target is $15,000 for this event; we are counting on your support to help us meet our goals. Your sponsorship will be the focus of youth and their families, to learn about how to navigate self-advocacy in their adult lives.

As a valued community partner, your support is vital to us. As a token of our appreciation for your generosity, we will promote your organization on our Facebook page and our website. We value your partnership with our organization, and we look forward to showing Erie that you stand with us in the campaign for empowerment.

Sponsorship may include:

  • Corporate Sponsorship

  • Gift certificates for Raffle prizes for each virtual walker that supports M.E.

  • Creating virtual teams to walk in support of Mission Empower

We look forward to hearing from you. Together, we can empower Erie’s children and youth with disabilities. Thank you for helping us reach for the stars and make dreams of success a reality. If you have any questions, contact: Norma Lewis – nlewis@missionempower.org or 814-825-0788 ext 102.

Kind regards,

Jill Hrinda-Patten
Executive Director









Virtual Walk 2020: What’s New This Year

After hearing from many of our organizations as we begin to come out of COVID-19 restrictions; we have made the decision to extend this year’s campaign deadline to JULY 15, 2020.   This means that all donation pages and websites will be open for online donations & event managers can enter offline donations until this point.

Please remember out of an abundance of caution, we have moved all 2020 Walks to an online only fundraiser and virtual walk for this year’s campaign.  This modification ensures that our participating organizations are still able to fundraise, via our online platform; while not putting participants at risk of further spread of the COVID-19 virus in a mass gathering situation.   Please remind your participants & donors that we will not be gathering at the respective location sites this year for the walk!

  • This year’s Highmark virtual walk is a real walk, but it’s on your terms! Anytime between today and the end of the campaign on July 15, you choose how and when you walk (treadmill, park or trail, or around the neighborhood) – it’s your choice!  You also pick the time of when you start and stop!  
  • Please share your photos and videos of participants walking to the Highmark Walk Facebook page & use the tag #highmarkwalk
  • This year to keep up the momentum of individual fundraising, we have lowered the minimum amount raised to receive a t-shirt to $15 before July 15, 2020(previously $30).  
  • T-shirts will be distributed to organizational leaders in late July. 
  • We will continue to offer (1) raffle ticket for every $50 raised.  Raffle chances are tracked online within the individual walker milestone tracker on the Luminate online system.

All donations much be credited to the individual walker account by the walk organization by July 15, 2020.  Prizes will be distributed in late July.

Learn More

Virtual Walk 2020: About The Walk

The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is an annual fundraising walk that benefits local health and human service agencies.

Highmark Inc. coordinates and underwrites the cost of the walk so that 100 percent of the money raised by walkers goes to the participating nonprofits.

The primary goal of the Walk is to help participating organizations raise money for their individual missions. The secondary goal of the Walk is to energize community members to have a greater hand in their health by becoming or staying physically active.

The inaugural Walk for a Healthy Community took place in Pittsburgh in 2003 and raised more than $25,000 for eight nonprofit organizations.

Since then, additional walks have been added in Lehigh Valley, Erie, Harrisburg, Laurel Highlands, Northeastern Pennsylvania (Scranton/Wilkes Barre), and Wilmington, Delaware.

Through 2018, the events have raised more than $13.6 million for nearly 450 nonprofits across the states. A record $1.507 million was raised in 2018, supporting 211 organizations.

Learn More

Donating to Mission Empower: Your Impact


Serve infants, children, youth, and young adults with a full range of disabilities, their families, and the professionals who serve them, as Erie County’s Community Parent Resource Center.  Services included information and referral, trainings, individualized support (phone, email, and in-person support), and leadership opportunities.  


  • Informed 188 new families of the CPRC services;
  • M.E. website had 25,567 views (2,357 or 9.3% increase from last year), informing the community on how to access M.E. services and links to valuable resources and community partners; 
  • Facebook page likes increased by 44%, and e-newsletter subscriptions increased by 14%.

Individual one-to-one support for families and youth:

  • Served 141 parents including 72 new and 69 returning families; noted by 773 individual contacts;
  • Served 38 youth; noted by 249 contacts;
  • Using phone surveys to improve services, parents rated services as 97% relevant and 97% useful.


  • Trainings included the half-day sessions of (IEP series, self-care, and dealing with difficult behaviors) and new topics (mental health first aid and changes to BHRS). 
  • Continued using the in house produced “Introduction to Educational Rights”;
  • Expanded producing monthly Lunch and Learn webinars;  
  • Produced new POD casts airing on the local Cable Access Media channel and M.E.’s platforms. 
  • In total, there were 286 training participants who included 99 parents, 65 professionals, 24 both parents and professionals, and 98 undisclosed. 
  • For Youth ENVISION, a 3-day summer summit with 6 individual sessions and 3 additional trainings throughout the year were conducted; in total, 146 youth participated in Youth Envision trainings.
  • 97% of parents and 98% of youth who attended Mission Empower trainings found them to be useful. 

Conflict resolution and leadership:

  • Parent leaders assisted in running informational booths at community fairs, organized the resource library, and gave their input for new resources.
  • Parents rated the trainings and leadership opportunities as 100% relevant to increase their school reform skills, and 98% of parents rated services as relevant to develop their leadership and conflict resolution skills.
Donate Now


Business Donations:


Doleski & Wolford Orthodontics P.C. 3230 W 38th Street Erie, PA 16506

Get Involved

Corporate Business Sponsorships

As a valued community partner, your support is vital to us. As a token of our appreciation for your generosity, we will promote your organization on our Facebook page and our website. We value your partnership with our organization.

Thank You!

We look forward to hearing from you. Together, we can empower Erie’s children and youth with disabilities.


Resources for Your Family

I am sure you are finding yourself with lots of questions. At Mission Empower, we are trying to find the answers. Learn more about resources you can use daily in a new virtual world. See how other families are coping with COVID-19 and social distancing.

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Tips for nurturing and protecting children at home, mental health resources, and more.

Learn More