In December 2014, South Carolina First Steps was selected as an official partner of Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids, an annual giving program from Payless ShoeSource. This marks the third year that SC First Steps has been selected as a Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids partner from more than 700 applicants.
The program – which reaches all 50 states – gave more than $1.5 million of free shoes to children of families in need this holiday season. South Carolina First Steps received 125 certificates valued at up to $20 each for free children’s shoes.
Local First Steps partnerships were asked to submit a plan for how they would use the certificates within their parenting home visiting programs to:
– Engage up to 25 high-need families in a positive, interactive experience
– Coordinate a group shopping trip of children and parents to a local Payless store, including transportation if possible
– Incorporate literacy into the event
– Invite local media to attend and cover the story
– Provide media stories and photos to submit to the Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids Program
Five First Steps partnerships – Bamberg, Calhoun, Darlington, Fairfield, and McCormick – applied on behalf of their Parents as Teachers home visiting programs:
Bamberg Fifteen children received new shoes at Bamberg County First Steps’ Holiday Group Connection meeting and participated in a story time event featuring the book, Shoes for Me! by Sue Fliess.
Calhoun Calhoun First Steps’ Parents as Teachers program rewarded parents who reported the highest levels of reading to their children with Payless certificates during its December Group Connection meeting, as well as targeted specific families with greatest need. In January, 25 children and their parents will board a bus provided by the local school district and travel to their local Payless store to pick out their new shoes. The trip will feature “read-ins” during the bus trip and at the store, as well as a lunch outing at McDonald’s.
Darlington Darlington First Steps coordinated a shoe-shopping trip for 17 children and their parents, featuring sing-alongs during the trip and a story time at the store as part of the partnership’s MotherRead/FatherRead program. One of the books shared was the classic The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss.
Fairfield Fairfield First Steps planned a shopping trip with 9 children who participate in Parents as Teachers. The parent educator will work with children and parents to create handmade books featuring the children’s feet and their new shoes as part of a literacy-based matching game.
McCormick McCormick First Steps plans a March shopping trip to Payless in cooperation with the families in their Parents as Teachers program. The partnership has purchased a copy of the book Shoes Shoes Shoes by Ann Morris for every child, and will ask the store manager to host a story time at Payless using the book.
This is the seventh year of the Payless GivesTM Shoes 4 Kids program. Although studies show that properly fitting shoes are important for children’s health and development, a large number of children don’t own a pair of shoes that fit. For many kids accustomed to used and hand-me-down shoes, this will be their first pair of new shoes.