By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Communities in Schools (CIS) recently opened its 11th annual Shoes 4 Kids drive in hopes of making a few Christmas wishes come true this season for students in need.
CIS is accepting donations of new or gently-worn shoes through December 15 for elementary, middle school and high school, children registered in the CIS program. Donations of new and gently-worn shoes for all sizes and ages will be accepted from a toddlers size nine to an adult size 14. Tennis shoes/sneakers must be appropriate for school-aged children.
The goal of Shoes 4 Kids is to help ensure students in the CIS program have a decent pair of shoes for everyday use or for necessities such as a P.E. class.
“Unfortunately, many of our CIS students do not have shoes that fit properly or shoes they have simply outgrown but the family cannot afford a new pair,” Michael Dewees, CIS executive director said. “We have had cases where students have no choice but to wear a pair of shoes that is completely worn out. We want to help these kids so they have a decent pair of shoes for everyday wear, athletic activities or other school function or event in which they participate.”
Dewees also noted a new pair of shoes goes a long way to help a child’s self-esteem which can affect learning. “Shoe-shaming was a recent fad and it often left kids with low self-esteem and a lack of desire to go to school and be put in that situation,” Dewees said. “When students have comfortable, well-fitting shoes, they are better prepared to learn and able to attend school with dignity. And because of this, many our kids would rather have a decent pair of shoes instead of toys for Christmas.”
Donations for the CIS shoe drive are accepted at the Communities In Schools office located in Killeen at 4520 E. Central Texas Expressway, Suite 106, the Central Texas College Student Center (Bldg. 106) located on the Killeen campus and the Salado Intermediate School at 550 Thomas Arnold Road. In addition to shoe donations, CIS will accept monetary donations to purchase shoes for those kids whose shoe size was not met with the shoe collection. Monetary donations can be delivered to the CIS office.
As a local, nonprofit organization, CIS is dedicated to impacting the lives of children in a positive way, helping them achieve the success they often find unattainable. Last year, CIS provided assistance to help nearly 5,300 students stay in school, improve academically, improve attendance, improve behavior and graduate. The local agency, serves the Killeen, Temple, Belton, Copperas Cove and Salado independent school districts. Since 2006, CIS has case managed nearly 70,000 students deemed at-risk or in social or economic need.