Book Clubs & Flash Floods

“Sports offered so many opportunities for us, and we remember having new shoes for the start of each season. We wanted kids in underserved areas like Oakland to be empowered with new shoes to pursue sports.”

Matt Eastman and Luke Johnson met while playing summer collegiate baseball in Geneva, New York. They formed a solid friendship beyond sports and stayed in touch through college and beyond. Matt moved to California to work in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Luke moved to Illinois for his job in Chicago.

Both men are avid readers, regularly discussing their current reads when they catch up. Matt had the idea of forming a book club—they’d choose books to read that inspired them to “level-up” and discuss how they put the lessons in the books to use in their careers and life.

Matt and Luke shared a love of volunteerism and making a difference in their own community, especially for children. They decided to combine these two passions, and pair their book club with a cause. They called it Pages 4 Progress.

The first book they chose was Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, founder of Nike. They thought it would be fitting to work with a shoe charity, and found Shoes That Fit by searching online.

Matt and Luke created a newsletter and invited friends and family to support their goals. They raised more than twice what they planned—enough to help 75 kids in Oakland, California. Matt and Luke were thrilled that kids would have good-fitting, quality shoes because of their enduring friendship.

Thank you, Matt and Luke, for using your love for reading—and the power of your friendship—as a positive influence for children in need!

On August 17, 2021, just five days into the school year, a flash flood swept through parts of Flagstaff, Arizona.

A burn scar from the Museum Fire two years prior left hillside areas prone to mudslides, and Killip Elementary was right in the path of the flooding. More than half of the school’s halls and classrooms were flooded with multiple inches of mud, all while school was in session. All the kids had to walk through floodwater and mud, and their shoes were ruined.

Flagstaff residents Donna and Tony Gutowski heard about the flooding and wanted to help. Together with their local Kiwanis Club, Donna and Troy sponsored the Shoes for Killip Drive. To bring together community support, Donna and Tony reached out to friends and family as well as local organizations to spread the word. Thanks to their energetic efforts, all 350 kids at Killip Elementary received brand new shoes and socks!

“We are beyond thankful for [the Flagstaff Kiwanis Club and Shoes That Fit] for recognizing a need in our community and stepping up to the plate to make a difference in the lives of our students! Thank you!”

           – Jannette Bressler, teacher at Killip Elementary

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