KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City serves roughly 8,000 kids.
For more than a century, the club has helped children develop the skills, values and self-esteem needed to achieve greatness while working to combat poverty, a lack of opportunity and bullying.
KSHB 41 News talked with a group of kids and workers from the club, who all say the gateway to a kid’s soul can sometimes be through the soles on their feet.
“A lot of people don't realize the type of person someone is,” said 13-year-old Rhian Stevenson, a member of BGCGKC. “They just base it off what they look like, what they have and I feel like it shouldn't be like that.”
Her peers agree.
“I feel if we get kids that don’t have shoes like us, then it would help us a lot because kids at our school get bullied and stuff for the clothes that they wear and the shoes that they wear," Kenadi, 13, said.
Andre Parks, an employee at the club, says he's seen first-hand young people who "just didn't have — I'm talking about from wardrobes all the way down to tennis shoes."
In order to address complex concerns, basic needs must be met first.
“A lot of the times, they don’t want to tell you they’re in need,” said Akilah Cherry, a co-worker of Parks. “They don’t want to look a certain way. They don’t want to get handouts, so to speak. But the need is certainly there.”
The kids KSHB 41 spoke with all say they've known someone who has been bullied for having shoes that are too big, too small or have holes.
“They shouldn’t have to go through that,” Kenadi said. “I just feel like nobody should have to go through nothing like that.”
With your help, they won’t have to.
Cherry says supporting Gift of Sole supports the livelihood of a child in need.
“For that kid who may not want to impede on their parent — give to that child," she said. "For that child that is trying to excel in school; for that child trying to do better for themselves or their family; for that kid who can’t play at the basketball court because they have boots instead of tennis shoes — give for that reason.
"For that child who wants to play soccer, but they can’t because they don’t have the right types of shoes, give for that reason. Also, just for the kid who may be homeless, and we don’t know they’re homeless.”
Anyone interested in making a donation can do so online here.