Did you know that youth in foster care often have nothing to call their own, moving from place to place every few months and finding themselves at the mercy of the child welfare system just to get their basic needs met?
President Obama has designated May as Foster Care Awareness month, and the dotFIT team is pitching in with a Shoes for Kids in Care program. One of our employees is the child of a former foster youth, and Neal, our CEO, basically lived on the streets as a kid (though he was never placed in care), scrambling for food, clothing, anything he needed. One constant issue for Neal was keeping shoes on his feet. Here’s Neal in his own words:
My parents weren’t capable of taking care of us kids. My clothes were mostly hand-me-downs from neighbors. For some reason parents of friends took to me so they were always helping out. I know it was because they felt sorry for my situation, but it also may have been because of my athleticism and love for sports. Maybe they thought having me around their kids would influence their recreational activities. But my shoes never fit right, always too big or too small, and always had holes in them so I would stuff the insides with newspaper to protect my toes from the ground and help keep them dry. Shoes became a real concern until I was able to buy my own later in life, and today I still have a fear of young kids having shoe problems.
As we know from Tom’s Shoes® and their One for One® program, shoes are incredibly important when it comes to health and development in kids. But we also know, from having been kids ourselves, that something as simple as a decent pair of shoes can make you feel like you fit in. And when you’re a foster kid, you almost never get to feel like you fit in.
So instead of giving away product to our loyal customers this month, we’re spending our social media marketing budget on athletic shoes for foster kids. And we’re committing to providing an additional pair of shoes for every retail order of FirstString that comes through our website between May 13 and May 31, 2013.
Want to help make sure these kids Grow Strong? Here’s what you can do:
- Order FirstString (chocolate or vanilla flavor)
- Consider becoming a foster parent
- Donate to our partners in our Shoes for Kids in Care program, the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles (CLC is a nonprofit firm that only represents foster youth)