Springfield children receive new shoes from medical students | State and regional

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SPRINGFIELD – Dozens of school children received new athletic shoes this week from students at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

Through the nationwide “Shoes that Fit” program, SIU medical students have provided more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to area students since 2007, the (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported.

This week, beneficiaries were at Enos and McClernand Elementary Schools. In Enos, first grader Adonus McGruder and Kievan Walters, a third grader, were so excited they tested them by running in the hallway outside the library.

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“I’m going to be the fastest in my class,” Adonus said after his black Nikes test. “They are good.”

Khloe Sandercock, a fourth-year medical student from nearby Rochester, looked nearby. The enthusiasm shown by Adonus reminded her why she participated in the program for three years.

“They put on this new pair of shoes and they can do it all,” Sandercock said. “They can dance better. They can run better. They are so excited and it’s fun to see what they can do in their new shoes.”

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The students organize the event and purchase the shoes, according to Hope Cherry, program director for the SIU Clinical Research Center in Medicine in the Department of Community and Family Medicine. There was a “relaxed day” to raise funds for the campaign and faculty, staff and students all donated shoes.

In schools, teachers often rate students who might need shoes, said Aisha Stemmons, the family and community engagement liaison at Enos. Families or the children themselves sometimes mention this to school staff.

“It makes a big difference in self-esteem,” Stemmons said. “They are walking down the hall after leaving here like they’re in seventh heaven because they have these great shoes that the SIU helped donate.”


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