What better way to jump for joy, than in new shoes?
Two hundred students at West Riverside Elementary were elated on March 12 to receive new athletic shoes, courtesy of Shoes That Fit and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
“I haven't got new shoes since I was 2," said a kindergartner named Kali, who praised the zippers on her new footwear.
The 90-minute event, which slipped new kicks onto dozens of little feet, filled the campus with laughter, excitement and joy: “It provided shoes, warmed hearts and put a smile on each precious face," said West Riverside Principal Marcella Hale. “We are blessed to have organizations willing to support the needs of our students."
Shoes That Fit, a Claremont-based nonprofit, partners with companies such as Enterprise to donate new athletic shoes to students in need nationwide. Athletic shoes that fit, with proper tread and foot cushioning, help students stay healthy, active and engaged in physical education. Too often, kids outgrow and wear down their shoes before their parents can afford to buy new ones – and some make do with dilapidated hand-me-downs from siblings.
“The personalization of Shoes That Fit is incredible," said Ms. Hale. “The students knew that this was a donation designated
just for them! Their feet were measured and the shoes were perfect."
Tracy Simmons, regional vice president for Enterprise, told the students: “Hopefully the shoes make you feel very special because you all are very special."Cyrus, a sixth-grader, grinned: “I'm excited for my new shoes."
Fourth-grader Anticeto added, “My shoes fit perfectly!"
Laura Gonzalez, intervention teacher and principal designee at West Riverside, said: “I have worked for the district for 21 years and this is the first time I have heard of an event like this. I am so excited for the students."
For their part, the students expressed delight, appreciation, and a keen interest in putting the kicks to good use:
“First I'm going to use my new shoes for the 100 Mile Club test [100 Mile Club challenges students to walk or run 100 miles in a school year], then for P.E., and then just go running," said Natalie, a fifth-grader.
Angel, also in fifth grade, said, “I am going to play soccer and kickball with my new shoes."
And Christopher, a sixth-grader, said, “I want to use my shoes to play with friends because I am good at football."
Indeed, for students at West Riverside, the shoe giveaway was a touchdown.