Help give Vermont children in need their dignity and a fresh outlook on life through the gift of a new pair of sneakers. The condition of a child's shoes is one of the most visible signs of poverty, impacting their preparedness to learn, ability to play, and capacity to thrive.
Children in poverty wear shoes that can be filthy, too big or too small, or taped to extend their purpose exposing them to the painful stigma of economic difficulty, all for the lack of what they cannot afford.
1 in 5 American children are in desperate need of shoes. Vermont’s 2nd leading problem is childhood poverty. Over 2,000 children in our footprint live in hardship as our rural communities and schools witness staggering poverty rates as high as 80% across the region.
Kicks4Kids gives children in need the magic of childhood and remove the shame of poverty.
“We see so many students whose families can't afford new sneakers that fit the child. Very often they get hand me downs or second-hand store shoes that are very worn and most times are too big or too small. Having shoes that don't fit properly will cause the child to fall more often, especially with overly big shoes. Worn out shoes do not give the child any support and can cause physical problems over a longer period of time. Also, it is hard to watch a child with a new pair of sneakers show them off because it tends to make the child with the second-hand sneakers embarrassed and sad. Students that come from families in need have a harder time fitting in with their peers.
When a child in need gets new sneakers, it makes a difference. The student feels like they fit in. They walk prouder and seem surer of themselves. They also can participate in gym class like everyone else, instead of making excuses as to why they didn't bring sneakers to gym class.” - Vermont School Principal