Kick It Up: GF students, staff receive free shoes
Green Forest students left school Monday with a new pair of shoes. As part of Convoy of Hope's program to help rural schools, students and staff from the intermediate and middle schools received one pair of free shoes each.
The school got the opportunity because of Mark Bryant, a pastor at First Assembly of God in Green Forest. When students and staff were getting their feet sized Jan. 17, Bryant explained that he and his wife were asked to choose a school to receive free shoes while they were attending a training conference last year.
Bryant chose Green Forest Intermediate School. While the intermediate school technically consists of fourth and fifth grade, the state considers grades four through eight to be one school. That, Intermediate School principal Chandra Anderson said, is why students from both the intermediate and middle schools received shoes.
Bryant said the shoe pickup went well, noting how excited students were to receive their shoes.
"Everybody has got their shoes and it seems like everybody's happy," he said, adding that he hopes to nominate
another grade level for the shoe giveaway next year.
Middle school teacher Dawn Anderson praised the program, saying she could already see students taking off their shoes and putting the new ones on.
"I think it's fantastic for students. It's something that puts them all on an even playing field so those who really need the shoes don't feel they're on the spot," she said.
Eighth-grader Lindsay Anglin agreed. Though she does not need new shoes, Anglin said the program really helps those who do.
"I think it's really cool. It's really good for people who don't have shoes," she said.
According to Randy Cartwright, Bryant's contact with Convoy of Hope, that is precisely the purpose of the program.
"We realize some kids may not need a new pair of shoes, but there's a lot of kids that do and we don't want to single anyone out," he said.
Some children, he said, have told him they never had a new pair of shoes before.
"It's really important for their self-esteem," he said.
A confidentiality agreement between Convoy of Hope and the shoe company, Cartwright explained, prevents the company from publicizing which shoes will be provided. He said the shoe company simply does not want to receive notoriety for the charitable act.
Operated through Convoy of Hope, the shoe giveaway is arranged through the rural compassion program. Cartwright said the program has helped kids throughout America receive free shoes.
"Rural compassion focuses on rural America. We just want to help break the cycle of poverty," he said.