AOC’s Curtis Smith shows off his Kinky heels.

JAMES RUSSELL  |  Staff Writer

The Hope Walk may be the AIDS Outreach Center’s second walk this year but organizers are not fretting. They are confident they will meet their goals.

Sarina Harz, development associate at AOC, said they have raised $30,000 raised so far.

“It’s on par with what we anticipated,” she said. “It’s a tough year for fundraising because we’ve had two walks.”

Tarrant County’s largest AIDS service organization is also undergoing a transition.

After 23 years, the Tarrant County AIDS Walk has changed its name and moved from spring to fall. The AIDS Walk will now be the Hope Walk, slated for Sunday, Oct. 25.

But changing and rebranding meant extra effort this year. Past participants schedule time to come to the walk in March. They held their final walk in March only to turn around and ramp up for the newly branded fall walk.

The move just fits with the center’s current rebranding efforts.

Currently, AOC’s two biggest events are the walk and Evening of Hope gala in May. Moving and rebranding simply balances the growth of their two major special events.

“We wanted to rebrand the walk to keep consistent with our message, which is that we offer help for today and hope for tomorrow,” Harz said.

Sign up parties at bars and restaurants in Tarrant County have helped them reach their goal of $75,000.

Even if they already walked in March, participants are returning and not bothered by attending two benefits only a few months apart. Harz is confident the event will reach that goal and see at least 350 walkers show up.

In fact, they expect more walkers.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is confident too. In fact, she’s kicking off the day’s walk.

“What we saw in March is people raise a lot of money the week and day of. Not only did we rebrand but added two new events,” Harz said.

To guarantee high turn out, organizers added two new events this year.

The first event is a Heels for Hope Dash, a .5k stiletto run. Only one winner gets a High Heel Trophy but everyone will have the chance for a red carpet finish.

The second event is the Pooch Parade, a dog costume contest.

“We wanted to add a few sparkly additions to inspire the HOPE of the rebranding and an alternative to the 5K which some participants are unable to do. Additionally, we were inspired by our partners in the Pride Parade, Performing Arts Fort Worth, who are producing Kinky Boots at Bass Hall the following week,” Harz said. “Again, it goes back to bringing light and hope to our community.”


Hope Walk Benefitting AIDS Outreach Center

Sunday, Oct. 25  1:30-5 p.m.
Trinity Park Pavilion˜
2300 W. Seventh St.  Fort Worth

1:30 p.m.
Music by DJ David Moore, Jr.
1:45 p.m.: Speaker Sandra Ford

2 p.m.
Hope Walk

3:15 p.m.
Heels for Hope Dash (.5K)

3:30 p.m.
Awards and
Prize Presentation

3:45 p.m.
Velvet Love Box

Individuals $25;
students $15; dogs $10

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 23, 2015.