A Physical Fitness teacher is being hailed as the ‘shoe fairy’ in her Sebastopol, California community. Myriah Volk is the founder of Shoes 4 Kidz, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide athletic shoes for children that need them.
Volk’s inspiration for creating the non-profit came a little more than a year ago from a fifth grade student in her PE class. She said the boy came to do a mile run with shoes so worn one of the soles was falling off. She recalls having to put tape on the shoe so he could complete the run.
It was then that the K-8 physical education teacher realized that nearly half her students were wearing inadequate footwear. The realization sparked a fundraiser to provide shoes for these students and escalated into a desire to provide shoes for all the children in Sonoma County. Volk purchases the shoes from local stores who provide her with a discount.
Salvador Villaneuva, a Sebastopol police officer said that the shoes provide a boost in confidence for the kids. “And when they’re active in sports, they stay away from negative influences,” he said.
Twelve-year-old Diego Ramirez was thrilled with his new shoes and said all he had to do was ask for them. Ella Mendez, a single mother, said that the new shoes her daughter received were a big help in getting her daughter back to school this year.
Shoes 4 Kidz has delivered more than 300 pairs of shoes to children and local shelters with more in need every day. Volk recalled the first pair she delivered and the change it made for that student. “In PE, he wouldn’t move much, he wouldn’t participate…,” she said. The new shoes made him run faster and try harder she said. “It changed him,” she added.