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On December 3rd, kids in the LA’s BEST after-school program at Monte Vista School in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles received new Vans sneakers for school.   They got to personally customize their own shoes with markers!

The idea of this event began when Justin Fredericks, a member of BEST Friends (a group of young professionals who volunteer for LA’s BEST), thought of connecting his company ArtXCo, artist Matthew Laurence Knott, Vans, Shoes That Fit, and LA’s BEST. Matthew, a rising art star, came to help the kids get started on their designs. He’d been to Monte Vista before and had painted fun murals of playing robots on the handball court! 

Matthew shared “you are all artists!” as he showed a custom-decorated pair of sneakers he had painted for Justin. One kid saw the colorful high-tops and burst out “I love those!”

After each child received their pair of Vans, the area got quiet as the kids began drawing. The kids proudly showed off their custom designs including avocados, unicorns, Garfield the cat, dogs, rainbows, pizza, and even the Dodgers and Stranger Things! Matthew bounced around helping different kids brainstorm and draw.

In a happy coincidence, this event was on #GivingTuesday. Monte Vista Elementary principal Megan Guerrero talked about how thankful the school was to receive this gift. She also mentioned how kids often don’t think they have anything to give back, but they have amazing things to give: smiles and kind words. We couldn’t agree more!

We were thrilled to partner with LA’s BEST, an after-school program offering students a nutritious meal, help with their homework, and enriching activities. They serve over 25,000 children in Los Angeles, helping them stay in school, develop their talents, and increase their self-esteem. 

A huge thank you to Vans, ArtxCo, Matthew, and LA’s Best for creating this wonderful day for these budding artists!


Click here for a photo album of the kids and their designs!