COTS Walk goes virtual with ‘our community takes flight together’ message
Online activities go live April 1 as COTS encourages "virtual walkers" to register
BURLINGTON -- The COTS Walk is the nonprofit's largest annual event and a critical fundraiser. This year, reaching the Walk's $205,000 fundraising goal matters more than ever, as the Walk goes virtual this year.
COTS has completely transformed its traditional pledge Walk event into a totally online and virtual experience with new activities at www.cotsonline.org/cotswalk: The Virtual COTS Walk, presented by Rice Lumber, kicks off online Thursday, April 1, with educational, family-friendly activities weekdays, leading up to COTS Walk Day on Sunday, May 2.
On COTS Walk Day, COTS will debut online a brand-new, interactive COTS tour (with photos, videos, 360 panoramas, with clickable links) of our COTS shelters, housing, and program spaces. This up-close, entirely online experience will give Walkers and our community the most in-depth look into the work COTS does every day to help families and single adults facing the crisis of homelessness in Vermont.
Our theme this year is "Our community takes flight together," as symbolized by the kite. As the saying goes (attributed to many different people online), "kites rise against the wind, not with it." That's exactly what COTS has done this past year with our community's generous support.
The Virtual COTS Walk Weekday activities that begin online April 1 are a way to learn more about COTS through educational, informative, fun, and interactive activities, designed for all ages. Participating in these online activities is a way for students to earn community service hours, for families to do together, or for faith or business groups to engage in a team-building experience. For parents looking for ideas for things to do during April's School Vacation Week, the Virtual COTS Walk Weekday activities offer a lot of creative opportunities to engage.
The Virtual COTS Walk Weekday activities are timeless and not time-sensitive. Walkers can do any day's activity on any day. If walkers miss a day, they can go back. If they want to skip a day, that's OK, too. The goal is for people to do them and share them with others via social media, email, word of mouth. The activities are made to appeal to all ages — for individuals and for families. As such, some ideas skew younger or older — and walkers should select the activities that fit them. All of the activities can be done following COVID health and safety guidelines.
The Virtual COTS Walk Weekday activities, like the traditional in-person Walk, help participants learn more about homelessness and about COTS’ shelter, services, homelessness prevention, and housing. They are also designed to be fun — a mix of things people can do online and offline (safely at home).
Thanks to our generous sponsors, all money raised by Walkers goes directly to service and to support families and individuals in our community who are facing the crisis of homelessness. Last year, COTS served 1,758 people (including 550 children). More than 50 percent of COTS' annual operating budget comes from community support and events like the COTS Walk.
Visit to www.cotsonline.org to register.
There is no cost to register and no minimum fundraising required for participation. For Walkers who elect to go the extra mile by taking the “COTS Walk Challenge” and pledging to raise $1,000, a generous challenge grant will match these donations. Challenge Walkers will receive a COTS Walk T-shirt, water bottle, and special recognition at the COTS annual meeting. (COTS Walkers can take the Challenge as a Team with a goal of raising $2,500 for the match.)
Founded in 1982, COTS provides year-round emergency shelter, affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and supportive services to families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont.