CENTER — Just in time for summer vacation, Skoglund Middle School students received new shoes from an organization that realizes success in school is often tied to self-perception and what students wear.
The California-based organization Shoes That Fit provided the footwear and a pair of socks for each student. A total of 114 pairs of shoes and socks were provided for middle school students.
One teacher said, “These are really nice shoes! I would like a pair…Some of the comments made by middle school students were: “These shoes really show how kind and caring someone can be!; It was very thoughtful and kind of you to donate these shoes to us.” And, “Wow! Bless your heart for the kind gesture!” And another: “These are great shoes! I love how you did this for us.” Appreciative smiles were on everyone’s face.
Local sponsors include the Kiwanis Club of Center and Payless Shoe store in Alamosa. David and Jan Reed of Denver (formerly from Durango), Troy and Libbey Serrano of California and Lacey Martin of New Mexico also sponsored the event. Teachers Susan Banning, Adam and Ashley Welsh, Kindra Rounds, Skoglund Principal Luis Murillo and Center Key Club member also assisted with the event.
According to the Shoes That Fit website, one in five American children is in desperate need of shoes. A new pair of shoes can be a life-changing event for a child. School staff report that students who participate in the Shoes That Fit program show an 88.4 percent increase in: self-esteem, a 71.7 percent increase in participation in physical activities, 62.8 percent increase in improved behavior and a 44.1 percent higher attendance average.
Founded in 1992, Shoes That Fit began by helping children at one elementary school in Pomona, California. To date, the organization has provided brand new shoes and other necessities to over 1.7 million children throughout the United States.
Their vision is that one day every child in America who needs new shoes gets new shoes, allowing all children the opportunity to reach their full potential.
The organization pairs “sponsoring groups” — businesses, colleges, community service groups and other organizations — with children at schools in their communities, identifying the children most in need. The school staff custom measures the children with tools provided. Brand new shoes are purchased by the sponsoring group and delivered to the school.
To learn more about Shoes That Fit, go to https://www.shoesthatfit.org/
Caption: Showing off their new shoes, eighth graders from left in front are Destiny DeHerrera, Alyssa Vargas, Jesse Bencomo, Briana Palma, Natalia Cendejas, Jazmynn Valadez-Gonzales, Samantha Vasquez and Briana Moreno; and back row from left Elexus Trujillo, Eddie Aragon and Teck Cayaditto. Photo by Teresa Benns