SUDBURY -- Shauna Cromwell has gone above and beyond for students at the Rainbow District School Board who are in need of new shoes. Cromwell, who is part of the cleaning staff, said after seeing multiple worn out shoes, she stepped up to the plate and started the ‘Kicks-4-Kids’ shoe donation drive.

“Just from cleaning the halls at Rainbow District School Board, I had started to notice that a lot of the shoes were either tattered, torn, or the tongues were off and I noticed some of the kids coming in and out of the schools wearing the same pair,” said Cromwell.

She said after purchasing new shoes for students in need, she would write a handwritten note and place the new shoes along with the old shoes in the cubbies. She said hearing the reaction was worth it all.

Cromwell said she got one student his first pair of Nike running shoes.

“I put socks on there for him and it was right before the Christmas concert," she said. "He cried because he just wanted to put on the new socks because he’s never had new socks before and that meant the world to him.

Finally felt accepted

“Another student was bullied in class and when she got the shoes showed them off to her class, all her classmates stood up and clapped for her. It was almost like a welcoming came in and she was finally accepted.”

Carole Legault, a teacher for 30 years, said in her three decades teaching, she had seen dozens of students wear shoes that needed to be replaced.

“I do remember some of my kids coming to the classroom and not feeling wanting to be part of the crowd because they didn’t have new clothes or new shoes or new bags, whatever, so my heart just goes to them,” said Legault.

After making a trip to Walmart in Sudbury, Legault said she was able to purchase four pairs of boy shoes and four pairs of girl shoes, along with two backpacks she couldn’t resist buying.

Confident in their own shoes

“For the girls, they had lights under and when they’re going to walk they are going to have lights go off under their shoes," she said. "The boys were more in the style of today and the colours of today.”

Cromwell said the most important thing next to having a full stomach is feeling confident in your shoes.

“I remember myself for basketball, I was pretty good but I didn’t have the confidence to go into that court and to perform at my maximum potential because I was in fear of what the other participants were laughing at me and looking at my shoes or what I didn’t have,” she said.

Cromwell said all shoes and sizes are accepted, whether they are runners, winter boots or even sandals. She says she is hoping to make this an all-year donation and is hoping to reach out to all four school boards in the city.

Anyone who wants to donate new shoes for students in need can drop them off at 1196 Lorraine St. in Sudbury.