Whether it’s the latest Nike or Jordan shoe, these releases are so popular that children will line up outside of retail stores to be the first to get it. While such select footwear is viewed as a luxury or fashion trend, for some, just simply having something to cover their feet is a blessing all within its own.
Emma Prager, though she is just a teenager, realizes this dynamic and understands that every child is not fortunate enough to be able to afford such expensive shoes. Many students at local Wolf Meadow Elementary School – one of the poorest in Cabarrus County, NC, with 83% of students eligible for free or reduced lunch – are lacking adequate and sustainable footwear all together.
Understanding the demand, Prager stepped up and put her best foot forward www.emma24c.wix.com/bestfootforward. Teaming up with her church and swim team, Prager organized shoe drives for local elementary schools as well as created an educational component about the importance of proper footwear. With a small budget but a ton of hard work, over 200 pairs of shoes have been collected. For these students, just having a decent functioning shoe is very difficult to come by. The Put Your Best Foot Forward project is not just providing shoes, but opportunity as well.
Very few equate shoes to academic success, but Prager is fully aware of the correlation. Many of these students who suffer from subpar shoes are unable to participate in recess or Physical Education class, unable to compete in sports, creating a child that can be socially absent. As a result, these children lack confidence which directly impacts their ability to perform well academically.
While these young students are faced with new challenges everyday, Prager is sure to be there to remind them to constantly put their best foot forward.