Clark College students joined a worldwide event on May 21 that brought a new perspective to the old saying; to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Clark hosted the Walk for Awareness, where 12 Clark students and faculty members pledged to spend all day barefoot and participated in a 30 minute walk across hot surfaces, rocks and different terrains. The walk allowed participants to gain perspective on what life without shoes would be like. Participants started at the chime tower and circled around campus.
The walk also brought attention to the shoe drive, where 118 pairs of shoes were donated. The Share House and Open House will distribute the shoes to people in the community, said Monica Knowles, an organizer of the event.
TOMS Shoes created the worldwide event One Day Without Shoes, held on May 21. The event raises awareness of children’s health and education globally.
Life without shoes sets children and adults back, in more ways than one, said event organizer Marti Earhart.
Many countries lack pristine paved sidewalks or roads, causing children without shoes to acquire diseases and health problems. Furthermore, across the globe, shoes are a part of the school uniform. Many children are denied an education without them, Earhart said.
This was the first year Clark held the event and Knowles plans to do it again next year.
After the walk, Earhart said, “Wow, that would be hugely inconvenient and dangerous. What we experienced is very mild, compared to garbage, glass and metal lying around.”
Michael Owenby, general merchandise buyer for Clark’s bookstore, attended a buyers’ conference where Blake Mycoskie, the founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS, spoke about their “One for One” business model about six years ago.
TOMS promises to give a new pair of shoes to a child in need for every photo of bare feet tagged on Instagram, according to the company’s website.
Because of the TOMS pledge, a minimum of 296,243 children will receive new shoes.
Toms inspired Owenby by raising funds that benefited people worldwide and he wanted to bring that to Clark.
“It’s a company that truly cares, and is based solely. And that’s not a pun by the way, on doing the right thing,” Earhart said.
Since 2006, TOMS has given more than 35 million shoes to children in need, according to the TOMS website.
However, TOMS contributes more than just shoes.
TOMS works with more than 100 non-profit humanitarian organizations in over 70 countries to help provide services such as clean water, safe birthing deliveries, improved eyesight and bullying prevention, according to the its website.