The Need for KICS:
Without well-fitting, seasonally-appropriate shoes, children can’t participate in physical activity, walk to school, or even stay warm during the winter months. According to the nonprofit Shoes That Fit, being given a pair of new shoes improves school attendance by 44%, participation in physical activity by 72%, and classroom behavior by 63%.
To provide children with a new pair of well-fitting sneakers, allowing them to be healthy, comfortable, and participate in physical activity.
The idea for KICS was developed in 2017, when The Junior League of Austin discovered that a popular program that provided shoes for area children was going to be discontinued. The Junior League of Austin leadership realized there was a critical need for children to have well-fitting shoes in good condition, and decided to take action.
Through the creation of the new Kids in Cool Shoes (KICS) program, The Junior League of Austin is partnering with local Central Texas-area schools, providing new athletic sneakers for every child at the selected schools. The KICS program integrates with the other signature programs of The Junior League of Austin, Coats for Kids and Food in Tummies (FIT), because of its focus on improving health and wellness for children in our community.
In the spring of 2018, a small group of volunteers from The Junior League of Austin visited Guerrero-Thompson Elementary school in the Rundberg area (97.6% economically disadvantaged), measured 655 children for shoes, and returned 4 weeks later to distribute brand-new shoes to every single student in the school.
How You Can Get Involved:
Local Austin organizations and companies can sponsor a school, providing sneakers for every student. Partial sponsorships are also available. When you sponsor a school, your employees can join the students at a celebratory KIC-Off Day where your volunteers will deliver the new shoes to the children, and participate in sports and activities together with the children to promote healthy lifestyles.
We know how difficult it can be to find volunteer activities for your team. When you sponsor a school for KICS, your employees will be participating directly with children in need. The Junior League of Austin facilitates all of the logistics of the event, and all you and your staff will need to do is show up ready to accept the smiles and excitement of these children getting their new sneakers!
$20 buys a pair of shoes for one child in need!
What Students, Teachers, and Volunteers are saying about KICS:
“This is my first pair of new shoes, EVER!” – 2nd grade student, Guerrero-Thompson Elementary
“I only had these shoes, and they used to be my big sister’s, but now they’re too small. Thank you.” – 4th grade student, Guerrero-Thompson Elementary
“Prior to this pilot program, many of our students were in shoes that didn’t fit or were falling apart. The week before you came here, one little boy came in because his shoes were so old that the tongue of the shoe had broken off!” – Administrator, Guerrero-Thompson Elementary
“At Coats for Kids this year, it had snowed that week, but there were kids standing in line in flip flops because they didn’t have any warmer shoes. Now I know how important the KICS program is.” – The Junior League of Austin member
Can I donate a pair of gently used shoes?
Pediatricians tell us that wearing pre-owned shoes isn’t advised, because even very gentle use leaves a wear pattern on the insoles of the shoes that doesn’t match the new recipient’s feet. This can be particularly detrimental to growing feet and growing skeletal systems. For this reason, the shoes we distribute through KICS are purchased new through a bulk discount.
Then can I donate $20 to buy a new pair of shoes for a child?
Absolutely! Please click here to donate. Only $20 buys a new pair of shoes for a child who needs shoes that fit.
What else can I do to help?
We’re looking for organizations to sponsor the purchase of shoes AND come out and volunteer by distributing the shoes to the kids. If you know a company or group who can sponsor at any level, email email@example.com.