By: Alicia Sands Lurry
Students at Charles L. Gideons Elementary School recently received new pairs of New Balance athletic shoes, thanks to the generosity of leading fathers of players in the National Basketball Association.
Earlier this month, members of Fathers and Men of Professional Basketball Players rallied together to help improve the lives of young people by donating 100 pairs of new shoes to Gideons students. Members partnered with Shoes That Fit, the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of new athletic shoes to children in need. Designed to improve a child’s self-esteem and let them know that someone cares, Shoes That Fit provides children with new shoes so they can attend school in comfort and with dignity, better prepared to learn and play.
Some of the members of who attended the event included: Charles Paul Sr., father of Chris Paul, LA Clippers; Dwight Howard, Sr., father of Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets; Dwayne Wade, Sr., father of Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat; Rod Ivey, father of Royal Ivey, assistant coach of the Oklahoma Thunder; and Carlton Jack, father of Jarrett Jack of the Brooklyn Nets, among others.
While at Gideons, many of the NBA dads provided encouraging and motivating words, while others shared their own personal stories with students about growing up in similar neighborhoods. Some even offered to serve as mentors.
“Gifts and material items are always great for students to receive; however, meeting and learning from people as they build meaningful relationships will last a lifetime,” said Clara Matthews, counselor at Gideons Elementary. “I am excited about the students knowing that people care about them and their well-being.”
Students at Gideons were recommended for the opportunity through the school’s partnership with The Impact Church, located at 2323 Sylvan Road in Atlanta. Approximately 99.4 percent of the students participate in the federal free and reduced cost meal plan, which is an indicator of need.
Founded in 1992 in Claremont, California, Shoes That Fit is the largest national organization of its kind. Today, the organization helps children in need in thousands of schools across America. Over 1.4 million pairs of new shoes and other necessities have been raised and distributed to children in need.