Monday, December 11, 2023
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Usher-Collier students receive free, new shoes

by Thomas Scott

More than 300 students at Usher-Collier Elementary school received a fresh new pair of Nike shoes last week thanks to Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and Shoes That Fit.

Every student had their feet sized on site by Nordstrom volunteers before trying on their new shoes for the first time. They were given a swag bag and also had the chance to customize their new kicks with different colored shoelaces and charms.

“I’ve seen some smiles that I haven’t seen in quite some time,” Usher-Collier principal Jerry Parker said. “This is a need that they’re helping us to fulfill. It’s October, and students’ feet have started to grow.”

Usher-Collier fifth-grade student Mondarius Holmes with his new Nike shoes. (photo: Thomas Scott)

This type of partnership and outreach helps Usher-Collier with its focus on whole-child intervention. Providing a basic need, like shoes, goes a long way for students.

“Our whole-child initiatives work from the time that they see us until the time they go to sleep,” Perry said. “We try to make sure that we fulfill all of those needs and everything in between.”

Shoes That Fit is a national non-profit that provides brand new, brand name athletic shoes to kids in schools all across the United States. In partnership with Nordstrom, they brought more than 600 pairs of shoes to the elementary school to ensure that no one left without a pair.

Usher-Collier principal Jerry Parker, Nordstroms regional manager Cheri Botiz and Shoes That Fit senior manager of strategic partnerships Janet Lang (photo: Thomas Scott)

“We want kids to have shoes that they’re comfortable in and encourage them to play sports and stay in school,” Shoes That Fit senior manager of strategic partnerships Janet Lang said. “And it really helps their self-esteem. There’s nothing like a new pair of shoes to make you feel good.”

The students had a variety of Nike shoes to choose from, and Nordstrom and Shoes That Fit came prepared with shoes in different colors in enough sizes to cover any child at Usher-Collier.

“I can’t tell you how it warms my heart to just walk in and see the smiles on the kids’ faces when we’re delivering the shoes,” Cheri Botiz, regional manager for Southeast Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores said. “It’s such a special initiative that we take so much pride in. We wanted to make sure we had a pair of shoes for every kid to walk away with.”

Omarian Smith gets the basketball from Atlanta Hawks forward Saadiq Bey. (photo: Thomas Scott)

The kids also got to spend some time with Atlanta Hawks forward Saadiq Bey, who came to help give out shoes and shoot some hoops with the kids.

Usher-Collier fourth grader Omarian Smith made a few deep jump shots before Bey gave him a lift to dunk the ball in front of his classmates.

“It means a lot for me to be able to see the students,” Bey said. ” I want to help the community as much as I can. Atlanta welcomed me with open arms.”

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