Here is a guest post about a great charitable organization that provides shoes for kids at the APTA conference each year.
Bringing New Shoes and Smiles to Kids in Need
The mission of Shoes4Kids is to provide disadvantaged youth a new pair of athletic shoes and socks, thereby improving their health and wellness.
Since 2006, Shoes4Kids has been creating change by distributing over 2500 pairs of new athletic shoes and socks to underserved and disadvantaged children in 5 different cities in the United States.
Last year Shoes4Kids distributed over 1000 pairs of new youth athletic shoes and over 3000 pairs of socks to the children of Boston. Many of the children and families we met at the shelters made a lasting impression, but an encounter with a boy named Jamal was especially unforgettable. To be sure the shoes fit, Shoes4Kids volunteers help the children try on their new shoes. When I offered to help Jamal, he politely refused. Once Jamal picked out a pair of shoes I persisted, explaining that I just wanted to be sure the shoes fit him properly. Eventually Jamal quietly admitted to me that his socks were dirty. I recall Him having so much pride. He didn't want me to see his socks, which were grey and full of holes. So, in addition to fixing him up with a great pair of new shoes, I made sure Jamal had a new pair of socks for every day of the week.
At another shelter, a mother and father brought in their two little girls for shoes. The mother told me that they also had an older boy and asked if he could get shoes, too. When they returned, I visited with the boy and asked him which sports he liked, He said basketball. I helped him find a great pair of Nikes. I remember Him just glowing. What touched me the most was when the father reached out to me and said, 'You don't know how much you've helped. What you've done for my family, I can't afford to do.'" By making such small acts of kindness possible, Shoes4Kids volunteers and donors are helping to restore some hope and happiness to families.
To view pictures of two of our visits last year go to these links:
Shoes4Kids will be visiting three different shelters during PT 2011 - June 8th -10th, those shelters being; St Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residence, Woodbridge, MD, Mondloch House, Alexandria, VA, and the Spring Road Family Program, Washington, DC. This year's goal is to distribute 600 pairs of NEW athletic shoes and socks.
While it may not be feasible for you to attend or volunteer at the shelters this year, it can be a comfort by knowing that your donation will have an impact on the children and families who call these shelters home. You can either mail your donation to my work address below or by making a donation online through my PayPal account at email@example.com.
Deadline for donations, mail or by PayPal is May 25th. Checks can be payable to Shoes4Kids.
If attending PT 2011 - National Harbor, MD you can bring your donation with you. For your convenience, there will be several Shoe4Kids drop off bins located throughout the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center. If you would like to volunteer at the shelters or have questions, you can contact me at (800) 657.4344 ext. 325 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your generosity to Shoes4Kids. See you in DC!
Brad Thuringer, PTA
Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Lake Area Technical Institute
230 11th Street NE
PO Box 730
Watertown, South Dakota 57201
800.657.4344 ext. 325