By Brianna Rhodes
Special to the AFRO
Noyes Elementary School students were full of smiles and joy after they received a generous donation of athletic shoes from organizations, A Chance for Children and Shoes That Fit last Thursday.
The mission of both A Chance for Children and Shoes That Fit is to create a better future for at-risk youth by providing opportunities that will help them succeed.
Noyes Elementary School was specifically handpicked by Collins to honor her best friend and newswoman Marion Goldin, a Washington, D.C. native and a longtime supporter of A Chance For Children. Goldin worked for the television broadcast, 60 minutes and at NBC with Tom Brokaw as a producer.
Collins chose the school because Goldin loved President Barack Obama, and Noyes, an arts and integration school, is a member of the former president’s Turnaround Arts (TA) program, according to myschooldc.org
“I wanted to do something to honor her because she meant so much to me,” Collins said. “So I wanted to pick a school where she lived, in Washington, D.C. and one of her favorite people in the whole world was Barack Obama.”
The children were full of excitement when they received their shoes during the event. Volunteers from L.A. and Baltimore came to hand out shoes that came in a variety of colors and styles from brands such as Fila, Adidas and Puma.
“Just seeing the kids’ smiles and seeing them get their shoes, is just incredible,” said Heidi Stoecklein, Sergeant for LAPD and board member with Chance For Children Foundation and Shoes That Fit.”We’ve been to so many of these and just to see the joy, not only from the kids, but even from the teachers because we really feel that them having shoes brings confidence, heightens self-esteem, and you know, it’s dignity involved in this also.”
During the event Collins emphasized to the kids the importance of sharing and how it can make a difference in people’s lives.
“When you have things in life, no matter what they are, one of the best things to do is to share them,” Collins said to the students. “Share them with your friends. You can share a hug. You can share shoes. You have five pencils, you can give three to your friends, and when you feel good it makes them feel good.”
Some kids stood up in the school’s auditorium and spoke about what gratitude means to them in front of students and faculty.
Nekeda Newell-Hall, the vice president of Strategic Partnerships for Shoes That Fit, thinks this donation will make a significant impact on the students’ lives because it will show them that people care about them and great things can happen in their lives. She believes it will inspire them to give back to others since they see this effort is not only helping them, but their parents as well.
Frances Evangelista, a Mary Jane Patterson Fellow at Noyes Elementary said students’ parents were also excited about their kids receiving shoes because they can get their kids toys instead of shoes for Christmas this year.
“A really practical deed made kids super happy today, but it also is going to make for a happy moment like on Christmas when they get something to play with instead of a pair of shoes,” Evangelista said.