Members of the William Jewell College community are choosing to go without shoes on April 10 to raise awareness of the experience shared by millions of children in underdeveloped countries who don’t have the choice to wear shoes.
The campus in Liberty, Mo., is participating in the international TOMS One Day Without Shoes event on April 10, with activities including a barefoot picnic on the Quad (weather permitting), followed by a free concert by pop singer-songwriter Graham Colton at approximately 7 p.m. Other scheduled events include a barefoot walk around the Quad, barefoot bouldering (similar to rock climbing) on the college’s Tucker Leadership Lab site and a “shoe drop” where participants can donate shoes. A raffle and t-shirt sale will occur during the evening concert, with all proceeds going to TOMS One Day Without Shoes.
According to student organizer Chris Reimer, TOMS is a socially responsible company that donates one pair of shoes for each pair of shoes sold. The company’s “One for One” movement also extends to its eyewear line, in which donations are made to a fund for children’s eye surgery for each pair of sunglasses purchased. “Our goal is to have 400 people go barefoot for the day,” Reimer said of the William Jewell event. “We hope to spark curiosity and conversation that will lead to change.” Reimer received a grant from William Jewell’s Center for Justice and Sustainability to underwrite costs for the concert and promotion of the “One Day Without Shoes” campus events. He is promoting the project along with fellow Jewell students Charlotte Belshe and Chelsea Taff.
Reimer pointed out that a lack of shoes is one of the leading causes of injury, infection and disease among children in underdeveloped countries. Shoes are often a prerequisite for school attendance, and the lack of access to shoes can be a major impediment to education.
TOMS Shoes was founded by Blake Mycoskie, a contestant on the CBS reality show “The Amazing Race.” The game show competition took him to Argentina, where he first encountered large numbers of children living without shoes. Mycoskie later founded TOMS Shoes, coining a company name derived from the word “tomorrow” that evolved from the phrase “Shoes for Tomorrow Project.” The California-based shoe company was founded on the concept of giving away a pair of new shoes to a child in need for each pair sold. Mycoskie is the author of the best-selling book Start Something That Matters, which was published in 2011.
The 7 p.m. concert by Graham Colton on the college Quad is free and open to the public. (Rain location is Gano Chapel.) Colton is best known for his hit song “Best Days,” and has toured with John Mayer, Counting Crows and Maroon 5. His current album is Pacific Coast Eyes. For more information on Colton, go to www.grahamcolton.com.
For more information on William Jewell’s participation in TOMS One Day Without Shoes, contact reimerc AT william.jewell DOT edu.
For more information on TOMS One Day Without Shoes, go to www.onedaywithoutshoes.com.
For more information on William Jewell’s Center for Justice and Sustainability, go to www.jewell.edu/cjs