From top: The Skechers Eyewear team: Debbie Polakowski, Jon Martinez, JoAnne Paolucci, Jeffrey Dziuk, Marji Eastland, Caitlin Syage, Lisa Stultz and Jane Kwon. Kelly O’Grady, Viva director of sales; Steven Mandel, Skechers director, global licensing; and Bill Munch, Viva general sales manager with son Andrew. Brooke Burke-Charvet and Skechers president Michael Greenberg.

Skechers knows the true meaning of heart and “sole.” The lifestyle and performance footwear brand recently held its annual “Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk” in Manhattan Beach, Calif., giving participants the opportunity to enjoy some heart-healthy exercise while raising over $750,000 to help children with special needs and provide education support. A record number of walkers—more than 8,500 people—participated this year, combined with donations from local and national businesses significantly exceeded last year’s total of $580,000 raised.

Featured sponsor Viva International Group provided a photo booth for attendees to take pictures with fun props against a colorful background. Each photo featured the Skechers Eyewear logo.

“Four years ago when the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk began we had 2,200 people come out; now we’ve surpassed 8,500 walkers in 2012, which is a testament to the compassion and dedication of our community,” says Skechers president Michael Greenberg. “The $750,000 we raised through this year’s walk will help many children with special needs continue to thrive through the Friendship Circle programs. Many education foundations that are in dire need of funding will also benefit from the money we’ve raised through this year’s walk.”

Participants walked from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Hermosa Beach Pier and back, a total of 3.4 miles. Fitness expert Denise Austin hosted and rallied the crowd before the walk, and baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda spoke about the importance of giving back and making a positive impact in the community. “Dancing With the Stars” co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet congratulated Skechers and all the walkers for making a difference to help children with special needs and for supporting education foundations in Southern California.

—Christine Yeh