ALAMOSA -- At the beginning of any new school year, it is only natural to focus attention on what students are thinking, what they are talking about, what they are seeing when they look around the classroom, what they hear their teachers and classmates saying.
All important things to consider. No doubt about it.
But, as anyone who has ever worn a pair of shoes that are old, worn out or just plain uncomfortable can testify, “If the feet aren’t happy, nothin’s happy.”
That was part of the inspiration that created last year’s program SOLE SEARCHING, although its originator – former ASD Transportation Coordinator, Jeremy Silva – put it in a much more eloquent way.
As he said, “Starting off on the right foot and in a comfortable shoe of their own choosing is surely one way to put a smile on a student’s face.”
Mr. Silva may have moved on to new opportunities, but, luckily for the feet of a whole bunch of ASD students this year, his program is still part of ASD.
Thanks to left over donations in funds from last year and the willingness of Assistant Superintendent Luis Murillo to take over the program, SOLE SEARCHING will be marching on, so to speak and sparking a new set of smiles.
Structured just like the program last year, any student from kindergarten through twelfth grade who needs a new pair of shoes can get them. The name of that student can come from a variety of sources. Principals, coaches, teachers, counselors, MTSS (Multi-tiered System Support) coordinators, dietary staff, nurses, bus drivers, anyone who notices a student who appears to need a new pair of shoes can contact Mr. Murillo and get the process going.
Once Mr. Murillo is given the student’s name, the parents are contacted so they don’t wonder why their child is suddenly coming home with a brand-new pair of shoes. The student is then told to go on Amazon and, with a spending limit of $70, select whatever pair of shoes they want.
Once the student makes his or her selection, the order is sent to another site where, every Friday, Mr. Murillo places the order.
Approximately one week later, the shoes are shipped to Mr. Murillo who then takes them to the principal’s office who then typically contacts MTSS, or whichever staff member knows the student the best. That person then meets with the student and gives them the shoes.
No one knows who bought the shoes, and no one will, unless the student chooses to tell other students himself.
Funding for the program is entirely voluntary. No school funds are used and all purchases are made using last year’s remaining donations as well as any new donations received this year. Of course, one cannot predict from one year to the next, but given the simplicity of the program and the clear need the program meets, it is hoped that this year is as fantastic as last year was, and not a single student will have anything but happy feet as the new school year is launched.
“The goal of Sole Searching at Alamosa School District is to guarantee that all students have proper footwear for school, activities or harsh weather,” says Murillo. “This is done keeping the confidentiality and dignity of the student recipient. A new pair of shoes can bring a smile to a child who might be in need because of difficult family circumstances.”
Anyone wishing to donate can send a check to Alamosa School District, 209 Victoria Street, Alamosa, Colorado 81101 (Memo: Sole Searching) or drop off an Amazon gift card at the district office.
Anyone with questions should call Alamosa School District at (719)587-1600 and speak to Mr. Murillo, who can provide whatever information people may need.