Van Buren students go One Day Without Shoes
KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren High School students on break for a long holiday weekend may want to find time for a pedicure before returning to school Tuesday.
Students and staff will have the option of spending the day barefoot while participating in the worldwide One Day Without Shoes event. It’s designed to raise awareness about those who don’t have adequate footwear and are at risk of disease, infection and injury.
“I wanted to do it so the kids in our school would think about all these other kids that have it so much harder than we do — even if it’s just for a day,” said Van Buren senior Karen Livesay.
She was inspired to plan the local event after hearing TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie speak at a Kansas City leadership summit two years ago. TOMS donates one pair of shoes to children in need for every pair purchased and started the One Day event.
Livesay said Mycoskie asked, “What are you going to do to make a difference?”
She decided to start by raising awareness in her own school and community.
“We don’t think about the fact so many people don’t have the opportunities we have,” Livesay said. Shoes are something easily taken for granted, she added.
Livesay wasn’t able to get participation authorized at her high school in time for last year’s event. This year she started early, first approaching a teacher and working her way up to superintendent Lisa Beames. She got the go ahead Monday and immediately began work on educational banners and posters.
Before students were dismissed Wednesday for the long weekend, every class watched TOMS’ informational YouTube video about the event. Livesay said the video gave students better understanding of the cause and purpose while boosting enthusiasm to go barefoot Tuesday.
Around 65 individuals thus far have indicated they will go without shoes on Livesay’s Facebook page for the event. She’s hoping most of the school’s roughly 300 students will take part. A number of teachers and principal Chuck Banks also are on board, she said.
“I would like it to become an annual event,” Livesay said, expressing hope another student will take it to the next level by getting authorization to raise money during the next One Day Without Shoes event.
“I feel if one person buys a pair of TOMS Shoes, this thing will be a success because one child can go to school because they have shoes,” Livesay said.