“The families there, their priority is not buying new shoes, it’s making sure they have food on the table. I drive by that school every day. And I know a new pair of shoes can boost your confidence. A bad pair of shoes can hurt your feet.” —Collin Maher, Eagle Scout Candidate, Georgia
Shoes News Spring 2023
Sophomore Starts a 5K to Help Over 600 Kids Get New Shoes
Collin Maher has been a Scout since first grade. And now as a Sophomore in High School, he’s earning his Eagle Scout badge.
As his project, Collin decided to bring together his love of running and shoes. Collin has run track and field and cross country for years and was ranked 17th in the country for the Freshman 400 meter and 5th for the Freshman 800 meter races. He ran his first 5k in second grade – the Dyslexic Dash.
Collin began planning a 5k race to raise money to give new shoes to all the students at Lake Forest Elementary School. With his parents' help, he got the necessary permits and road closures, and registered the race so that it’s a qualifier for the AJC Peachtree Road Race. Collin worked with his school, Mount Vernon, to recruit runners and get the news out. And Collin secured BioLiyte, the “IV in a bottle” drink, as a sponsor of the race.
He found Shoes That Fit to partner with in giving new athletic shoes. He shared:
“When I first started the race planning, I had to choose the perfect charity. I was looking through a list of them, going on to each website. I deep-dived into Shoes That Fit. I thought they would be perfect with my mission and vision. They work well with the schools. They are able to get shoes at a discounted price, so they can help as many kids as possible.”
He called his race the “Cocoa Classic”. On President’s Day weekend, 390 registered runners lined up and ran the 3.106 mile distance.
Each runner received a Yeti cup with the Cocoa Classic logo filled with hot cocoa at the finish line.
Collin shared a bit about the school he chose to help and why shoes are important to him:
“The beneficiary is the Lake Forest Elementary School, where over 65% of the people are economically disadvantaged. The families there, their priority is not buying new shoes, it’s making sure they have food on the table. I drive by that school every day. And I know a new pair of shoes can boost your confidence. A bad pair of shoes can hurt your feet.”
“I know the impact good shoes can make when it comes to my own running, so being able to work with Shoes that Fit and direct all donations to kids at Lake Forest Elementary School, brings even more meaning to this project.”
We at Shoes That Fit are thankful to Collin and all our donors and partners who give shoes and help kids step into a brighter future.
Collin plans to hold the Cocoa Classic again next year. If you’re in the Sandy Springs, GA area, consider signing up!
A High School Injury Sparks an Interest in Foot Health and Giving Back
Bethany Robinson grew up on the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ, and as a junior in high school, she attended the Health Careers Institute for High School Students at Midwestern University, a medical school located in Glendale.
At the summer program, Bethany got to explore several different medical specialties, and was drawn to the field of podiatry, partly for its emphasis on orthopedics, and also because of a recent rodeo accident of her own.
Bethany had competed in a rodeo in Wickenburg, Arizona – particularly in the goat-tying event. As she was competing, she experienced an avulsion of her medial malleolus combined with a fibular fracture otherwise known as a Pott’s fracture. So, the ability to help others get back on their feet after foot, ankle, and leg injuries resonated with Bethany.
After completing her undergrad at Northern Arizona University up in Flagstaff, Bethany became a podiatric medical student at Midwestern University. Over the summer, she was listening to the “She’s a DPM” podcast, where Dr. Stephanie Oezeman interviewed Dr. Katerina Grigoropoulos. Dr. Grigoropoulos is now a practicing podiatrist, done with residency, but during her student days, she was the driving force behind SoleFit, a group of students who partnered with Shoes That Fit to help children in the Chicago area get new shoes.
Bethany was inspired by Dr. Grigoropoulos, and decided to help in her community as well.
Bethany applied for grant funding from the American Podiatric Medical Students Association (APMSA), a group with clubs at all eleven podiatry schools across the nation. AMPSA offers service grants for students to help with community outreach events. With the grant funds Bethany and Midwestern University’s APMSA club were able to help 30 elementary students receive new athletic shoes.
Now Bethany needed to find a school to help. She went to her mom, a longtime school district employee, and her mom mentioned Mirage Elementary, a title 1 school located just three and a half miles from the Midwestern University Campus. She connected Bethany with the school nurse. Bethany coordinated with the nurse to pick children most in need, to get their feet measured, and to order the new sneakers. When the sneakers came, Bethany dropped them off at the school.
She took the opportunity to share about the field of podiatric medicine with the students. She made up a flier that introduced what a podiatrist does, some general foot care tips, and fun feet facts. Her classmate, Elizabeth Romo, translated the flier into Spanish, so that the flier could reach both English and Spanish speaking students and parents.
Bethany mentioned why giving shoes is important to her: “We talk a lot about shoes in our podiatry focused classes here at Midwestern, about how important it is to have a solid support base.” And she shared how crucial shoes are for participation in youth activities including physical education and sports.
Thank you, Bethany, for helping kids in your community!
Mercedes-Benz brought new shoes and special guest, Ludacris, to a school in Atlanta!
Rack Room Shoes Raises More Than $2 Million to Help Kids Grow Stronger in New Shoes!
NBA Star Malik Beasley Gives Shoes to 269 Kids During All-Star Weekend
Even though Malik Beasley had just been traded from the Utah Jazz to the LA Lakers, and it meant getting up at 3 am after a game to catch a flight to Salt Lake City, he made sure to be there for the kids! It was an event he and his family – especially his mom, Deena – had planned for the kids of Parkview Elementary.
“Providing shoes for the kids is closely aligned with one of my core values, “love others as you love yourself.” What better way to show love and care, than to give shoes to kids who need them?” – Malik Beasley
“Playing sports has allowed me to stay healthy, gain confidence and make amazing friends, all while having fun, and I want other kids to have the same opportunities.”
Dean C. donated his Bar Mitzvah gifts to give 33 children at Tarzana Elementary in Sherman Oaks, CA new shoes in December of 2022.
Erica Olsen Features Shoes That Fit and the Rams on InsideSoCal!
Clark County Brings Shoes to 650 Students!
“Cooper and I were helping kids try on the shoes. A lot of kids wanted to show them to their parents or grandparents before they wore them. It was rainy and muddy that day, and they didn’t want to get their new shoes dirty before showing them to their mom and dad.” —Ashley Bosse Lubetkin
Teens join forces to help kids in Dallas, Texas through their Bar and Bat Mitzvah projects.
Ally Metry and Summer O. started a movement at their school, University Liggett, and through raffles and other fun fundraisers, provided 521 pairs of shoes to students at Hamilton Academy in the Chandler Park Community of Detroit, Michigan.
Church Community Helps Almost 500 Kids!
First Baptist Church in Atlanta raised over $17,000 to give shoes to 487 kids at Dunaire Elementary in Stone Mountain, GA. They delivered the shoes just in time for the holidays!
Stories from Teachers
Every year we hear compelling stories from teachers about the impact of your gifts. Here is one of our favorites from this past March from a teacher at Goodwin Frazier Elementary in New Braunfels, Texas:
“We have several students who come to our school from shelters or homeless situations. Most of these students had to leave their homes with very few personal items. We are able to offer them brand new shoes. The students' faces instantly brighten up as they put on the shoes and begin to walk around the office. One might think that a single pair of shoes wouldn't make much difference, but for a child who lost everything and is now thrust into a new school, they mean the world. The students immediately appear more confident and they head off to their new classrooms.”
Thank you for making an immediate, concrete difference in the life of a child!