- Sponsorship -

New Shoes Help Students Start School in Style

For Graciela Landa, receiving free shoes for her children from a Grand Rapids nonprofit organization was a big relief.

Pregnant with her sixth child, Landa watched her third-grade daughter Nimsi and first-grade son Ismael try on brand new and stylish athletic shoes. The students were getting ready to head back to school at Godfrey-Lee Elementary School. But first they stopped at In the Image and its Shoes Help Our Elementary Students program — SHOES for short.

“It helps a lot because we are a big family and to buy a lot of school clothes is expensive,” Landa said, with her oldest son, a middle school student, translating.

In the Image invited 11,000 students from 34 schools to receive new shoes during the two weeks before the first day of school. Executive Director Beth Ann Egan said about 5,000 students typically come for shoes during the back-to-school event, and 3,000 to 4,000 more will receive them during the school year. Qualifying schools, which have a high number of students who receive free- and reduced-price lunches, included Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Godfrey-Lee and Kentwood districts.

In the Image Executive Director Beth Ann Egan helps organize thousands of shoes

The faith-based organization at 1823 South Division Ave. started SHOES 17 years ago. It is funded through donations and proceeds from In the Image’s recycling program. The shoes, bought in bulk for about $15 each, are available in a variety of colors and styles. Sparkles, Angry Birds and neon colors brought smiles to students’ faces.

“I had a kid that came in a couple days ago and he was really quiet until he found his perfect pair of shoes,” Egan recalled. “He said, ‘I think I can run faster now.'”

That’s the goal of the program: to send students to school with confidence that they can “run faster, play harder and jump higher,” not having to worry about their shoes falling apart.

Jennifer Koller, Kent School Services Community School Coordinator at the Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center, volunteered at In the Image to help families she works with get shoes for their children.

“It’s one less thing parents have to worry about for back to school,” Koller said. “It’s kind of fun for the kids to choose what style they want instead of always having to be practical.”


Godfrey Lee Public Schools News 

In the Image

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Good behavior encouraged at home

For students learning from home, positive behavior rewards are still possible...

Discovering bugs by tying flies

Northview’s coordinator of outdoor experiences, a fly-fishing aficionado, used the sport to teach elementary students about macroinvertebrates and making their own flies...

Pen pals build bonds during remote learning

How does a teacher create get-to-know-you opportunities for her new class of third-grade distance learners?

Have books, will deliver

To make sure virtual students still have access to books, this middle school media clerk built her own online platform for the library, created a contactless book pick-up at the school and is delivering books to students at their homes...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Satellite library aims to boost reading for the fun of it

The Kent District Library location opened this week, and is exclusively for East Lee Campus students and their families...

Voters approve bond request by 2-to-1 margin

The approval of the $17.79 million bond will restore and renovate Lee Middle and High School, which was badly damaged by a June 2019 roof collapse...

District bond request Nov. 3 includes upgrades, additions and community wellness & resource center

Godfrey-Lee Public Schools is asking voters to approve a 30-year, $17.79 million bond proposal to fund major reconstruction, additions and improvements to Lee Middle and High School...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU