Melissa Scott is the University of New Haven CampusRiot Campus Representative
Picture for just one moment what it would be like to not have shoes. If you’re like me you’re probably thinking, “That’s my favorite par of the day!” You come home from a long day of classes and you immediately kick off your shoes, put on your most comfortable clothes, and relax. Imagine people out there, children even that would be grateful to have those shoes you kick off each afternoon or evening.
You’ve likely heard of the company TOMS. For those of you that haven’t, according to the TOMS website, “In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet”. Mycoskie wanted to help them so he created TOMS. For each pair of shoes that are purchases, another pair is given to a child in need, they call this “One for One®”. Since then the company has launched eyewear and coffee to purchase that will provide eyewear and water for those in need as well. According to their site, they’ve given in over 60 countries.
I bet you’re thinking, “Damn that’s a great guy”. But you can actually give back too with an event started by TOMS called, One Day Without Shoes. It is day that happens annually to raise awareness for children’s health and education. For one day, you kick off your sneakers, sandals, flats, boots, whatever and create awareness. This year, the event took place on April 29, 2014.
Here’s a link to a youtube video made by Wits VP for 2014’s One Day Without Shoes. Take a look!
You can and should start or join an event in your community or on your campus. At the University of New Haven, the club University of New Haven (UNH) Habitat has created an event for this day for a few years now. They are a community service based club/organization that aspires to better the campus and neighboring areas like West Haven and New Haven located in Connecticut.
Students can come by their event table (if it’s nice out, it can often be outside in the university’s quad or patio), take of their shoes for a little while, trace their feet on a banner, listen to some great music generally provided by the University of New Haven’s radio station, WNHU 88.7 FM, and much more. The first 50 in previous years, now upped to 100, students receive a free t-shirt. Additionally, students have a chance to win a TOMS gift card and a variety of other gift cards to locations on or around our campus.
It’s a great way to get to know your peers or members of your community while creating awareness for a severe issue that affects many lives. Participating in events like TOMS One Day Without Shoes and other community service oriented events benefits others and also yourself. It does not have to be this specific event, just get involved! You will feel an immediate sense of gratefulness and appreciation for all the things you have and also feel a sense of hope that you’re one step closer to helping others are able to feel the same way.
Shoes, eyewear, even water, things that are so easily accessible for us; we forget to realize how inaccessible it can be for others. Be sure to look out for when next year’s TOMS One Day Without Shoes is!