By Angela E. Rodriguez |Staff Writer|
CSUSB students took off their shoes to join the TOMS “One Day Without Shoes” Challenge on April 10 in front of John M. Pfau Library.
Students walked from 12 to 2 p.m. to raise awareness about the deprived children in less fortunate countries who have no shoes.
According to the TOMS website, the leading cause of disease in developing countries are soil-transmitted infections. The site states, “wearing shoes can prevent these diseases along with cuts, sores and other infections.”
By not wearing shoes, participants got to walk in the footsteps of children vulnerable to the hazards of living without these necessities. One students stepped in gum after only walking a couple of hours without shoes.
“I can’t believe I stepped in gum! I was trying to be so careful the whole time but things happen,” said Karla Alvizo.
Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. and the Cross Cultural Center organized the walk on campus, along with a raffle for a free pair of TOMS shoes of any color for students who walked.
“I’m really excited how a lot of students supported the TOMS movement today. I participated last year and am a strong believer in TOMS and own five pairs,” said Jessica Bracamontes.
The creator of TOMS shoes, Blake Mycoskie, established the company which gives shoes to children in need.
In 2006, Mycoskie, an American traveler, befriended children while in Argentina and noticed the trend of not having any protection on their feet.
Having shoes is vital for these children for many reasons. For instance, they aren’t allowed to go to school if they don’t have a pair of shoes to wear with their uniforms. If children don’t go to school, they are missing out on opportunities that can help them with their future. Later that year, Mycoskie returned to Argentina with family, friends and staff and successfully donated 10,000 pairs of shoes to children in need.
In this year’s challenge, many companies joined the movement, such as American Greetings card company, World Vision, Discovery and EA Mobile. All were featured on the TOMS One Day Without Shoes website.
Over 7,000 participants were expected to sign up for the movement worldwide.\By being barefoot, demonstrators are trying to draw curiosity and support for the ONE FOR ONE movement.
Fellow Coyote Kayla Gutierrez, member of Delta Sigma Chi Co-Ed Fraternity Inc., won a free pair of TOMS shoes. Gutierrez stated she enjoyed her first experience being involved with this movement.
“I loved participating in the One Day Without Shoes. The cause and what it represents is such a cool idea, I hope to do this again next year,” said Gutierrez.
Photos by Angela E. Rodriguez