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Education Exchange

Education Exchange and “Share Your Soles”

Service Day for P.S. 51
By Catherine Wayland
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Dear IF readers,

sneakersI awoke on March 29 to my 40 th birthday. I was very excited to spend the day doing my service commitment for “Share Your Soles” with the 4 th and 5 th graders at PS 51. They say in some cultures, how you begin the calendar year or your birthday is how your year will go. I always believe I need as much good karma as I can get, so things were looking up.

Unfortunately my 2-year-old Brody had caught a tummy virus and was not looking up very much at all. His head lay limp on a pillow and he only lifted it to throw up into a blue bucket next to him. So as all mothers, I had to rearrange the day. Instead of 4 hours of service, I would have to limit my time to 2 hours while my husband stayed with our youngest son, Brody.

I made it to Ms. Perlas class by a little before 9 a.m. Everyone in Ms. Perlas class was smiling broadly. This is going to be great, I thought. I walked them through the flow of prepping and cleaning the shoes on the chalkboard before we left with our classbags of shoes to clean them on the playground. Then we collected big bags of shoes and walked down to Ms. Benowitz class to do the same.

Finally out on the playground, there was a bustle of activity to line up the shoes. The two classes had wagered a contest with each other to see who could bring in the most shoes. Now, this is the kind of competition that I like! We lined the shoes up and counted. Ms. Benowitz’ class had won the contest – hurrah! Everyone was in great spirits.

Then came the hard work. We setup stations for cleaning and polishing and drying. classFor the two hours that I could stay, I helped to inspect the shoes to tell them how to clean the different fabrics or surfaces. If it was leather it would take the saddle soap better than water. If it was a sneaker, it would take a lot of elbow grease and water and scrubbing to get the soles clean.

I left the kids in a great buzz of cleaning and sorting. I promised to return the next morning with my van to pickup the shoes for packaging and preparation for mailing boxes of shoes to Mona Purdy in Chicago. All went like clockwork, and now we have our bake sale coming up to raise money for postal costs. Stay tuned…….

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

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