A 29-year old Chicago man made a stop in Sedalia earlier this week, as part of a nearly 3,100 mile walk across the country, in an effort to raise money and awareness of the drug and gang violence in many inner-city neighborhoods.

Frank Chiarelli began the trek in Delaware on May 1. He planned for 250 days, while estimating he could walk about 15 miles a day, making stops in cities across America to discuss the importance of mentoring kids and getting more people involved in the lives of inner-city youth.

Chiarelli's overall goal is to get children away from gangs and violence. He says a great way to do that is to start mentoring and tutoring children at a young age.

Frank Chiarelli started the website, sevenmillionstrides.com, to document his trek across America and to reach a wider audience. His journey is sponsored, in part, by Kids Off the Block, a charity group in Chicago.

When he stopped in Sedalia earlier this week, he met with Mayor Stephen Galliher to discuss his mission, and then headed to Fitter's 5th Street Pub on S. Ohio Avenue, for water and a meal.

Chiarelli doesn't always make sleeping arrangements in the towns he visits. Often times he relies on the kindness and charity of local residents. He says he has stayed in barns, fishing boats, and churches all across the country.

The Chicago native says he learned one huge concept in his struggles, "The power of strong family, religion, and work ethic which I was missing for such a long time. After introducing some of that into my life, I believe that by providing kids with an opportunity for that foundation, no matter the hardship, can create change."

Chiarelli was planning to walk to Knob Noster for his next stop. He noted that he 'is actually a bit ahead of schedule.'

He will eventually end the journey at Point Reyes National Seashore, in northern California.

For more information about Chiarelli and his campaign, visit sevenmillionstrides.com.


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