Given the high cost of food, gas, and rent or mortgage payments, families are faced with tough choices about where to spend their limited financial resources. Many times, those choices can mean their children can’t get items many take for granted — these items can include something as basic as new shoes.
Fortunately, the Rotary Club of Santa Clara has a way to help address this problem called Steps 4 Success, which started in 1996.
This year the Steps 4 Success took place on Saturday, Sept. 29. Over the course of three hours, 700 children representing eight Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) elementary schools visited one of four locations to get a new pair of shoes, socks, a book and a goodie bag.
District and City employees, Rotary volunteers, Lexus of Stevens Creek and friends of volunteers, and SCUSD Board Members worked together to make the program a success. The Family Resource Center from the District was at the event as well.
According to Andy Ratermann, SCUSD School Board Member and President of the Santa Clara City Library Foundation, “This took an enormous amount of organization — they worked for weeks filling custom orders for eight schools. The person in charge is our Police Chief, Mike Sellers. The two people who have done a lot of the groundwork are Colleen Noll and Deborah York, one of our Rotarians who lives in Alviso. They’ve done a lot of the pre-work that makes this possible.
“New Balance in particular helped us, as did Sports Basement,” Ratermann continued. “We’re giving away New Balance athletic shoes — thanks to those two organizations. We have a specific shoe for every one of the kids aged from as soon as kids start wearing shoes up to the fifth-grade. After receiving their shoes and a pair of socks, children can go to two different tables for arts and crafts and face painting.”
“I’m really happy with the way [the event is] working,” said Ratermann. “It looks like people are having fun. We have almost 400 kids coming through this location itself.”
For more information about the Santa Clara Rotary, visit their webpage: santaclararotary.org.