USA Participates as a Collection Site for the 2012 Shoes4Kids Program
By Brad Thuringer, PTA
Nearly one in four American children lives in poverty—that’s 16 million kids who understand all too well what it means to go without. What does “go without” mean in America? For an underprivileged and underserved children we serve in America, going without can mean things many of us take for granted.
Simple things like books, healthy foods, a good pair of properly fitted athletic/running shoes and places to play and exercise.
Shoes4Kids is all about serving the underprivileged and underserved child and their families by providing them with a new, brand name pair of athletic shoes. Shoes4Kids mission is to make a difference in the life and health of our children 1) by making sure they have shoes that fit and 2) promoting and encouraging the benefits of exercise.
Since 2006, Shoes4Kids has distributed over 3000 pairs of new, brand name youth athletic shoes and over 5000 pairs of youth athletic socks to the children of Orlando, FL, Washington, DC., San Antonio, TX, Baltimore, MD, Boston MA, and National Harbor, MD.
WHY this attention to children and providing them with a new pair of athletic shoes and socks. As we all know, children's feet grow rapidly and it is necessary to closely monitor them. Too-tight shoes often go unnoticed by young children, or they are unable to communicate the problem. Thus, it is important for parents or a caregiver to make a commitment to have their child's feet measured every two to three months. We know that most parents follow through with this commitment, yet we also know at times there isn't the money or the availability to select or purchase a bigger size or different pair of shoes. By providing properly fitted athletic shoes to a young boy or girl, it allows them to run and play in comfort, but most importantly as therapists and as students; we are providing a service to these children in preventing early injury, disease and hopefully improving their overall condition
This year, Shoes4Kids (S4K) is scheduled to be in Tampa, FL., June 2-9 in conjunction with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Annual Meeting and Exposition - PT 2012.
S4K will be visiting The Hospitality House and the Red Shield Lodge Emergency Shelter, shelters associated with the Salvation Army, Tampa and Dover Elementary School, Dover, FL. An estimated 600 pairs of NEW youth athletic shoes will be needed.
Every pair of shoes represents the child whose face lights up when receiving them.
Here are a couple of testimonies from shelter coordinators;
“I've heard from many families that their kids LOVE the new shoes. One little girl told us that her shoes were extremely comfortable and the only pair that fit well. Another little boy told me last week that he had the "coolest shoes in his class."
- Amy White, Program Director, St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences, Arlington, VA (PT 2011)
This was by far, the biggest gift our shelter has ever received. All the children now have a new pair of tennis shoes for the summer. I hope you know how meaningful your time and donations were to our children and their mothers. – Dana Shuttleworth, Director of Facilities & Operations, Crittenton Women’s Union, Boston MA. (PT 2010)
PT 2011 ~ National Harbor, MD
PT 201o ~ Catholic Charities, Boston, MA
So how can YOU Help?
You can help by purchasing a pair of "NEW" youth athletic shoes (youth size 5 to older teen adult size 13) and a package of new socks. The purchasing of new youth athletic shoes and socks doesn't necessarily have to be of the expensive brands, a pair of "good" athletic shoes can be purchased around $20 - $30 dollars and a package of new socks around $7 -$10, all at your local Pay less, Wal-Mart, or Target Stores.
Cash donations are welcomed. Funds received for Shoes4Kids will be used entirely to purchase new athletic shoes and socks for the children of Tampa. Cash donations need to be addressed to “Brad Thuringer – Shoes4Kids.” Earlier this year, I took the steps needed to make Shoes4Kids a not for profit corporation. Shoes4Kids will be a 501(c)(3) organization by the end of the year.
Mail financial donations to:
Brad Thuringer, PTA
Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Lake Area Technical Institute
230 11th Street NE
PO Box 730
Watertown, South Dakota 57201
Mail Shoe donations mail to:
c/o University of St. Augustine
1 University Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL 32086
Deadline for ALL donations shoes and monetary is May 25th, 2012. No donation is too small.
A homeless child has dreams like any other child; having a home, a bedroom and things to call their own. We may not be able to provide a child a home or a warm bed while in Tampa, but to a underserved child a new pair of shoes for the summer might provide them a sense of hope, dignity and self-esteem.
On behalf of S4K, thank you! Thank you for believing that every child deserves a new pair of athletic shoes! For more information, please contact me at 800/657-4344, ext. 325, or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Brad Thuringer, PTA