AUNE Student and Alum Hike for Homeless Women

Antioch University New England (AUNE) students recently joined in Wilderness Heals, the all-female, three-day pledge hike that benefits Boston’s Elizabeth Stone House (ESH). Marilyn Castriotta, an Environmental Studies master’s student, participated for the fourth year, and Ali Furman, MS ’13, also joined the annual hike.

ESH provides safety and services to help women resolve the issues that made them homelessdomestic violence, substance abuse, and mental illnessto help them attain and maintain permanent housing, personal safety, and economic stability.

This year’s Wilderness Heals was held July 19-21. Five teams of forty-three women, whose ages ranged from teens to sixties, spent three days hiking in various parts of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.  The weather conditions were challenging, with heat and humidity, as well as tornado warnings on the second day.

Each hiker was required to raise at least $1,500. All proceeds are unrestricted funding that ESH uses to help individuals and families heal and rebuild their lives. This year’s overall goal of raising $175,000 was the highest yet in Wilderness Heals’ eighteen-year history and for the first time was reached before the event was held. Most came from individual donations; there was also corporate sponsorship. You can still make a pledge through September 12.

Marilyn co-led the Carter Notch team, which summited two 4,000-foot mountains, Carter Dome and Wildcat A. The essence of Wilderness Heals is about building confidence and community in the lives of both homeless individuals and those hiking for their benefit, she said. Serving as a team leader the past three years, she aspires to lead according to a favorite quote of hers by Eleanor Roosevelt: A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.