Four of us went to Harder Elementary School in Hayward to set up for our Shoes that Inspire program 5k running event, and to also meet with the kids that participated in it.
Once we arrived, the kids were still in school. However, we proceeded to help with the preparations for the race. It was an amazing experience to meet with the teachers, coaches, and the supervisors who helped put this program together at this school. We were able to meet these dedicated individuals who truly believed in the strengths of these kids!!
As the bell signaled the end of the school day, kids started to bolt towards the tree where they usually met for their practices. We introduced ourselves to the kids and thanked their participation, while also thanking the other supervisors, teachers, and adults for their cooperation and support! The kids increasingly became enthusiastic as we individually called out their names to present their shoes. I felt heart-warmed and joy to see the their faces glow with smiles! I remembered that a staff member told us that one of the students always showed up to practices wearing shoes from Kmart. It was an amazing feeling to know that these shoes will contribute positively towards their life, and hopefully fuel him or her to continue an active career.
The kids had a great start to their race. They accelerated with powerful speed and seemed very enthusiastic. I was astonished at their efforts for being able to long a great 3 miles; it is an incredible feat at such a young age! Grace, Ada, and I ran with the kids for a great 5-6 laps. Although it was warm and they sometimes had to take breaks to walk, we continued to run alongside the kids and offer words of encouragement and optimism. The kids put in genuine effort in their laps and didn’t lie about the number of laps they ran.
As the kids sprinted towards the end of the race, we awarded the medals to all of the kids. June 4 was an enlightening, most touching day because of the passion of all of the kids, coaches, and adults that participated and supported the event! I am excited for the coming Shoes that Inspire programs that I will further be able to a part of.