With my age, I cannot create a bank account to withdraw money from this campaign. The money donated to this project will be temporarily put into a separate account under my parents' name, thus why the campaign says it's on "behalf of Daniel Kiernan." All of the funds will then be directly deposited in the Green Bay Shoe Closet account at East High School for use on our cause. If you prefer to send a check, checks addressed to Green Bay East High School and restricted to the Green Bay Shoe Closet can be mailed to 1415 E Walnut St., Green Bay WI 54301.
In 2016, I was inspired to start the Green Bay Shoe Closet because of his teammates on the Green Bay East cross country team. A friend of mine listed off the reasons various athletes were injured that season. One reason stood out: “He didn’t do anything wrong to get his injury. He’s only injured because his family can’t afford running shoes. His brother had the same issue.” Injury plagued the athlete for over two years. Even with the deficit, he could run a mile in under 5 minutes, leaving teammates wondering what he could have done with appropriate shoes.
Two of every three students qualify as economically disadvantaged at East High School. As a result, many runners cannot afford proper running shoes, and instead ran on the same worn pair year after year. Most athletes accumulate mileage in excess of 300 miles a cross country season, effectively the lifetime of shoes. A single pair worn for any longer than a single season can cause a variety of injuries.
Moved towards action, I began applying for grants, officially starting the Green Bay Shoe Closet. Since then, the Green Bay Shoe Closet has supplied a total of 33 pairs of shoes to students of poverty, ensuring that economic standing is not a barrier for students entering cross country.
The Green Bay Shoe Closet levels the playing field for student runners of poverty, opening up the benefits of running.
Helping students to participate in cross country creates a unique community for them. Cross country teams are especially supportive. Teammates pass each other on a run, and call out, “Keep it up!” Even different schools support each other, exhaling “Good job,” when passing in a race, or a finish line “Congratulations!” Runners rely on teammates for encouragement in workouts and races. Thus, cross country fosters an especially tight-knit, positive team culture.
Running pushes athletes beyond their comfort zone, requiring runners to push through difficulty. Thus, running teaches enduring life skills, such as perseverance and hard work. Teammates often recount stories after races of an overwhelming part of their brain declaring, “You cannot finish.” Because of running, students are intimately familiar with this pessimistic part of their brain. Yet, runners learn to reply to that same part of my brain, “Yes, I can push through.”
Multiple studies show that participation in extracurriculars improves students’ grades (such as one from the University of Cordova). Through ensuring continual participation in running, the Green Bay Shoe Closet improves the academic performance students of students below the poverty line. Better grades leads to better graduation rates. Therefore, a simple pair of running shoes can improve the graduation rates of these students.
The ultimate goal of the Green Bay Shoe Closet is to expand to all high school running teams in the Green Bay Area Public Schools . This will require significantly more funding. The $6,000 goal of this campaign would cover expansion to all Green Bay Area high schools for a year.
Funds raised from this campaign will be used in the next running season, be it track in spring, or cross country in fall.
Support the Green Bay Shoe Closet; run alongside these students. Help students win the race to success, one pair of shoes at a time.
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