HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – With help from business sponsors, students at a Broward County elementary school got to go home with a new pair of shoes Wednesday.
The Rick Case Automotive Group, in conjunction with “4EveryKid” program, donated hundreds of pairs of shoes to underserved area students, through the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Homeless Education Assistance Resource Team (HEART).
According to event organizers, Soles4Souls made sure that every student at Mary M. Bethune Elementary School, located at 2400 Meade St. in Hollywood, received a new pair of shoes.
The goal of the 4EveryKid initiative is to provide homeless kids in the community with brand-new, name-brand athletic shoes from popular manufacturers to help build self-esteem among their peer groups while promoting physical activity.
Rita Case, President and CEO of the Rick Case Automotive Group, spearheaded the effort in South Florida, and was joined by other local business sponsors.
Rita and her late husband Rick got involved with Soles4Souls in 2013. They began by providing coats and shoes to children at Boys & Girls Clubs in Broward County, Florida and Idaho.
Organizers said that every child will be getting one pair of shoes in the Fall and one in “Spring for Summer.”
Case told Local 10 News Wednesday that she’s been raising money to keep the program sustainable for five years.
“I totally believe it’s going to make a difference in these children’s lives,” she said.
According to Soles4Souls’ research, more than 1.5 million children in the U.S. don’t have stable housing, and their families lack sufficient resources to meet all their basic needs. More than 18,000 kids in southeast Florida are experiencing homelessness, with at least 7,000 of those in Broward County alone.
A new pair of athletic shoes can directly impact a child’s attitude and performance, both in and out of school.
More than 90% of kids with new shoes were more confident and felt better about attending school regularly, according to a recent study by Soles4Souls.
Since Rick Case Automotive Group became the founding sponsor and chief fundraiser for 4EveryKid Broward in Spring 2022, Rita has already raised nearly $500,000 for the program with many five-year commitments to secure program funding for years, event organizers said.
“This makes me happy to look at the kids and their joy and their face,” Case said. “It’s just amazing.”