“The shoes were giving students a renewed confidence”

– Conondale State School

Research

The University of Sunshine Coast conducted a comprehensive review of our Shoes
& Socks 4 Kids program. Their results below highlighted the measurable success of
the program and how it has improved the lives of thousands of children.

Safety

Children and teachers the foundation has served, have identified safety improvements from the donation of shoes and socks. The Cherbourg State Schools stated that: “…by wearing shoes, children’s feet were free from cuts, feet without cuts mean no infections, no infections means no need to have time away from school”. Several children also identified safety improvements. One wrote: “The shoes really helped people to play on the playground and stopping from getting in trouble.”

Comfort

Comfort was identified as a consistent theme in the data. Coolum State Primary School staff commented: “Children directly benefitted from having warm, dry and sturdy footwear during the winter months.” A student wrote: “The shoes are so good and comfortable for me and my friends.”

Self-esteem

Self-esteem improvements were also recorded. Conondale State School staff reported: “The shoes are giving students a renewed confidence.” A student sending thanks wrote: “They make my feet feel super and they make me feel very super.”

Participation

Children reported improvements in running, jumping, cricket, learning and climbing. Mabel Park State School staff reported: “It puts a smile on so many students’ faces when they can feel like they are part of the school when they can wear a pair of smart, black school shoes.”

Access

New shoes and socks donated by the foundation, has proven to assist parents and carers in providing basic clothing needs for their children. A single parent with a child at Woombye State School described her struggle through the school year for her children, as she found it difficult to replace school shoes as young feet grew. A letter from a student on behalf of the school wrote: “I’m glad my brother and I had new shoes for the school year, so I gladly announced thank you.” “We appreciate your help because some people could not afford new shoes.”

Concentration

The provision of shoes and socks allowed children to concentrate on learning. Coolum State Primary School staff wrote: “Students being able to concentrate on their learning is so important, without worrying about wet or inadequate footwear.”

Attendance

The qualitative data revealed improvements in student’s attendance. Cherbourg State School staff reported: “Whilst you and your sponsors may not realise it, the shoes have a dramatic effect on individual student attendance.”

Conclusion

Qualitative data analysis of the ‘Brighter Future 4 Kids Foundation’ programs of donating shoes and socks and clothing for children, identified positive outcomes for children in need. These included increased school attendance, concentration in class, playground safety, participation in physical activity and self-esteem. Since the foundation was formed in 2010 by Pauline Preston (“I saw a young boy walking to school with shoes held together by duct tape, and decided I had to do something about that.”), the foundation has received on-going support from school staff, along with expressions of gratitude from parents, carers and the young recipients. Vital has been the dedicated support from a leading Australian school shoe manufacturer. Since the incorporation (2015) of Uniforms 4 Kids, pioneered by Yvonne Pattinson OAM, the foundation has attracted support from major community services, and continues to do so.

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Brighter Future 4 Kids Foundation. Background information. (cited 2014 March 56). (provided by Brighter Future 4 Kids Foundation)

Queensland Government. Department of Education, Training and Employment. Policy and Procedure Register. Student Dress Code. C2012 (cited 2014 March 10). Available from: http://ppr.det.qld.gov.au/education/management/Pages/Student – Dress-Code.aspx

National Centre for Children in Poverty. Present, engaged and accounted for: The critical importance of addressing chronic absence in the early grades: report. C2008 (cited 2014 March 10). Available from:

http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_837.pdf

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