Students spend a day without shoes
BLACKSBURG — Those who visited Gilbert Linkous Elementary School Tuesday may have had a few questions about the shoeless children walking the halls.
The students in Kim Dickerson’s third-grade class were quick to answer them.
“Because some people don’t have shoes in other countries and continents,” said third-grader Gwendolyn Hawdon.
The class, along with several others in the school, took part in “One Day Without Shoes,” a global day of awareness focused on the large number of people in the world without proper footwear.
The day was established in 2008 by the nonprofit company TOMS Shoes, which is well known for its policy of donating a pair of shoes for each pair it sells.
The elementary school students joined the effort for the majority of the day not only to gain awareness about the issue, but also to gain a new experience.
“We wanted to see what it [going barefoot] is like,” Emerson Kniola said.
By mid-day Tuesday, she had already begun to feel experienced.
“It feels weird. My feet are dirty. Very, very dirty,” Emerson said.
Her classmate, Gwendolyn, agreed.
“And they kind of hurt,” Gwendolyn said.
The two students also agreed they hoped people would ask them about their bare feet so they could explain the purpose of the day and hopefully get them to “join in on it.”
Dickerson taught her students about the potential dangers people without shoes throughout the world face and had them list the problems they would face each day if they had no shoes.
She also introduced TOMS Shoes to them, gave them a brief history and explained the company’s overall mission.
Dickerson said she hoped her students would be able to connect what they were doing on a small scale with what the company was doing on a larger one to help people without shoes.
She added that despite their age, she believed it was good for her students to understand how lucky they are compared to others in the world.
“You’re never too young to be humble,” Dickerson said.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643