The Loop is no longer the only place to go to take on a vertical challenge for a good cause, as PEER Services brings its first annual charity stair climb, Step Up for Recovery, to downtown Evanston’s Orrington Plaza on Nov. 15.  

At 20 stories high, Orrington Plaza is the tallest office building between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Developed in response to cuts in state funding due to Illinois’ fiscal crisis, Step Up for Recovery  has a three-part goal: 1) raise awareness of addiction as a critical health issue; 2) build support for individuals living in recovery; and 3) raise much-needed funds to provide treatment scholarships for individuals in need.

“This is more than a fundraiser,” said lifelong Evanston resident and PEER Services Board member Meredith Selway. “We are really looking forward to bringing the community together to honor individuals living courageous lives in recovery. It is our goal to get to the place where our culture celebrates individuals who achieve five years of sobriety similarly to the way we celebrate an individual being cancer-free for five years.”

As for many non-profits, the past months have been challenging for PEER Services as they await definitive answers regarding the state budget. Yet, in spite of the uncertainties, PEER has not cut back on services and remains optimistic.

“We are moved by the positive response of the community to this event,” said Evanston resident and PEER board member Geoff Cochran.

Registration fees for Step Up for Recovery are $25 per person, $15 for ages 18 and younger and $100 for a five-person team; registration information is available at PEER Services’ website.  

Climbers are encouraged to collect pledges.  PEER Services hopes people of all abilities will find this untimed climb either an attainable feat or a rewarding challenge.

 “One climber has already set his goal to climb the tower five times to achieve 100 stories” said PEER Services Director Kate Mahoney, who added she will be more than satisfied making it to the top just once.

Proceeds from this event will provide treatment scholarships for teens and adults. Donations are tax-deductible.