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Education Exchange and “Share Your Soles”

The Path – Part 3, April 2007

By Catherine Wayland
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Dear IF readers,

children in classAs a parent and educator there are good days and bad days like in everyone’s life and profession. I could share a lot about the bad days, but I prefer to keep that list in my back pocket. March 8 however, was a good day. On March 8, I spoke to the 4 th and 5 th grade students of P.S.51 about “Share Your Soles” ( This is the organization that I have shared with you IF readers that helps give gently used and cleaned shoes to poorer children in countries around the world that have none.

After my presentation of a video and a short talk about IF Magazine’s work with “Share Your Soles”, the student’s hands shot in the air for questions. “Why don’t the children in the video have shoes?” “What if I only have shoes that fit me, how can I help?” “Why can’t children without shoes go to school?”

children in classBut it was one little girl that raised her hand and made a simple statement rather than posing a question that made it a really good day. She opened her mouth and said, “That is so sad.” My presentation and the organization of “Share Your Soles” had gotten through to a group of children who are raised in a culture of the “gimmes.” These children are bombarded with advertising for toys, and Jordan’s high tops, and the latest razor scooter. As recipients of this culture they often spend their days saying, “Gimme this” and “Gimme that.” But on that day, they looked at their feet and counted themselves lucky.

And then they asked how they could help those children somewhere in the world without shoes. I spent some time explaining to them just how we all could pull together as a team and make a difference to a child with nothing. Maybe even allow a child his or her first day of school. March 8 was a day to remember. It was a good day.

Keep reading to see what happens on March 29 when we gather all our shoes for cleaning, polishing and new laces.

Cat WaylandSincerely,
Catherine Wayland,
Editor and Co-Founder of International Family Magazine

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