PREBLE COUNTY — In collaboration with the Strong Families, Safe Communities Grant, the Preble County Mental Health and Recovery Board supports the Success Program which is operated out of the Butler County ESC.
The Success Program is made up of Success Liaisons who cover the five Preble County school districts. The Success Liaisons develop relationships with school staff, parents and guardians, and community partners to make great things happen for kids.
The Preble County Success Program was recently honored by Community Action Partnership (CAP) for being the “Helping People, Changing Lives Non-Profit Partner of the Year.”
“An important event that our Community Liaisons have organized the last two years is Shoes 4 the Shoeless (S4TS). Shoes are the top unmet needs for families in poverty. S4TS is a local non-profit that provides new, correctly fitting gym shoes and socks to children in desperate need,” officials said in a recent press release.
Last year the Shoes for the Shoeless program served about 800 students in Preble County from pre-school through 12th grade. It will probably be close to that same amount this year.
”S4TS relies on volunteers from the community and at each event this school year, were blown away at the community and school support who showed up to give new shoes and socks to students. Some businesses and individuals also donated brand new shoes and socks to the events,” the release continued.
On the day of the event the gym becomes a shoe store where one-by-one kids are brought there and welcomed by volunteers. The child stands on a shoe sizer and is asked what their favorite colors are. The volunteer then finds several pairs of shoes that may match what the child would like. It is important to give them options because so many have never even owned a new pair of shoes and are used to hand-me-downs, officials said.
“This is not only a gift to meet physical needs, but also provides them a sense of pride and confidence as well. While that is true, it can be especially sensitive to work with middle and high school students as pride can get in the way of them receiving shoes,” according to S4TS officials.
One volunteer heard about S4TS and came to help as she grew up in low income poverty herself. To help her remember what it was like, she didn’t wear socks to the event and was blessed to give back to those whom she could relate to, the release noted.
”S4TS is more than just getting a pair of shoes; it’s about volunteers showing kids the power of kindness.”
S4TS is only one of the ways the Success Liaisons have been instrumental in reaching area students.
“The Preble County Mental Health and Recovery Board is so thankful for the difference the Success Liaisons have made in our schools and community,” said PCMHRB Executive Director Amy Raynes.