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Focus Stories

Walk on Water

by Shelley Ouellette

Featured Photo from Walk on Water

There has never been a challenge Roxane Mann hasn’t met with a smile, a positive spirit, and her overwhelming faith. Her attitude in 2020 has been no different. Faced with the indefinite trials of a global pandemic, Roxane leaned on those principles to ensure her Walk on Water boutique and its team remained relevant, active, and in business even when forced to temporarily close their doors in Lake Mary this spring.

During that shift in business, Roxane’s devout customers remained a top priority, but she was equally concerned about the impact the pandemic might have on her beloved Seminole County community and those in need, whom she works tirelessly to support each year. Roxane’s philanthropic work includes hosting two annual fundraisers, both of which were in immediate jeopardy due to state crowd restrictions. However, in typical Roxane fashion, she refused to pause her mission, and she put her faith in the community to transition Walk on Water’s annual Friends Helping Friends 5K run into a virtual event.
“I was tired of hearing about what we couldn’t do,” Roxane says. “My team and I are always focused on what we can do, so we simply took action. The cause is too important.”

That cause – supporting SafeHouse of Seminole and those affected by domestic violence – is not only extremely personal to Roxane, it is a cause to which she has devoted her heart and soul for more than 12 years, and she was determined 2020 would be no different.

“One in three women and one in five men in the state of Florida will be affected by domestic violence during their lifetime,” Roxane explains. “Add in a pandemic, with its economic and social impacts, and we knew that number was going to increase and, unfortunately, it has. In addition to the surge in calls from those in need of support, SafeHouse’s funding has taken a significant hit this year. That’s why there was never any question that we would find a way to make the Friends Helping Friends fundraiser happen. Whether together running the same course, or scattered across the world, we could still come together to support this incredibly important cause – so we did!”

On September 26, hundreds of participants ran, walked, rolled, crawled, and prayed on behalf of SafeHouse of Seminole, many sporting a purple We rise by lifting others T-shirt, which Roxane designed and sold with 100 percent of the proceeds going to SafeHouse.

“This event truly embodies its ‘Friends Helping Friends’ moniker,” says Roxane. “Our hearts are broken for women and children who need to escape, at a moment’s notice, their predator for fear of their lives. We are grateful there is a place where no one is left behind and where these families can rebuild their lives. If you are experiencing abuse, living in fear, or in need a safe space to reclaim your life, please call the SafeHouse Hotline at 407-330-3933 immediately.”

Roxane’s philanthropic spirit is also on display inside Walk on Water. Featuring many give back brands that donate a portion of their proceeds to charitable organizations, the boutique offers customers ongoing opportunities to support local residents in need.

“Each month, Roxane designs a different T-shirt to support a specific local cause,” explains Angie Hayden, Walk on Water’s marketing manager. “One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to that individual or organization. I have never seen her turn down a need in our community. I can recall times when Roxane would give so much that we prayed for the store to make ends meet, but God has always been faithful to Roxane’s gift of giving. Walk on Water is truly a store of outreach and service.”

“God reminds us, ‘It’s not about us,’” Roxane adds. “God is not just the starting point of our lives, he is the source of our lives, and it’s through Him we find what we are living for. The greatest joy of all is to use the gifts He’s given us to help those in need.”

Visit WalkOnWaterFL.com or follow Walk on Water on FaceBook for upcoming event announcements and donation opportunities. To support SafeHouse of Seminole, visit SafeHouseOfSeminole.org.

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