Every Step Counts: Bello Machre Makes Strides With Fundraiser At AACC


A fundraiser featuring a walk, a bike ride, plenty of food, and a dance party — all wrapped into one — generated essential resources for a local nonprofit in early June.

Bello Machre’s annual Every Step Counts fundraiser drew nearly 400 people to Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) in Arnold this year. The Maryland-based organization exists to serve people with developmental disabilities so they can lead rich, independent lives. By the end of the day, Bello Machre had received over $200,000 in donations, president and CEO Robert Ireland said in closing remarks.

Everyone, with the exception of three bike riders, walked at a leisurely pace around AACC’s campus. “Enjoy it,” volunteers said as the crowd took off under the colorful blown-up arch. The path wound along many buildings, mostly in the shade, and finished near the Cade Center for Fine Arts building where the event’s hub had food, fun and music ready to go.

“It’s become a dance party,” said Tracy Lynott, Bello Machre’s development director who has helped plan Every Step Counts since she joined the organization over two decades ago. For her, a highlight of the event is when the music starts after the walk and the people Bello Machre supports aren’t afraid to get out and dance.

The funds raised help Bello Machre support over 200 people living independently in their homes, as well as those in the organization’s 50 community homes. But the funds don’t go to a specific part of Bello Machre’s services; rather, they are used wherever resources are needed. That could include the nonprofit’s day services, Ray of Hope program, medical bills for individuals Bello Machre assists, and more.

“Little things like that, that aren’t funded through any other means, but (that) enrich the life of the individuals that we support,” Lynott explained. “It makes them have a meaningful life with these extra activities.”

Now in its 33rd year, Every Step Counts has grown not only in fundraising numbers but also in the amount of fun. After all the face painting and raffle ticket purchases slowed down, event emcee Connor Skalitzky raised the group’s collective energy level as people gathered on the dance floor. From the “Cha Cha Slide” to the “Macarena” to the “YMCA,” everyone jumped to their feet to dance, with plenty of smiles in the crowd.


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