Shoes That Inspire Benito Juarez Elementary

Alina Wu

I will share with you a simple story that brought me much joy. Three days ago, on November 1st, I joined with the Healthy Lifestyle For Youth members to donate running shoes to the children at Benito Juarez Elementary School. Thrilled as I was when HLFY invited me, I would not imagine the experience to be just as inspiring to me as the bright new shoes would be to the youngsters.

The hard work of the HLFY team paid off when the money raised by local fundraisers could be funneled back to the community. They bought ASICS shoes and prepared to meet with elementary students. We rode down from San Ramon to Oakland, which is about a comfortable hour of a drive. Our group was greeted by the animated dean and then led into a classroom of about 30. The children chattered excitedly amongst themselves as Grace introduced the mission of HLFY and Shoes That Inspire. Here, we placed the shoeboxes into the hands of each of 18 individuals, who in return, offered us breezy grins before jumping back to their seats and pulling their new shoes on; they bantered their opinions on them. It was a jovial time.

After they had a short while to put their running shoes on, the class moved out to the field in order to run laps. Here, I spoke briefly with Miss Bay Area, Jane, whom I found very respectable, some HLFY members (the others jogged alongside the scholars), and a few students (who were curiously energetic despite running 7 laps). I enjoyed looking out into the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, just a small distance away.

I was interviewed with two questions by the dean: why did you join HLFY, and what piece of advice would you give to elementary students? I responded in an artless but truthful manner that I believed students at the schools I attend, Dougherty Valley, stressed too much and that many pitifully spent their days indoors. Thus, I found the motives behind HLFY to be very applicable. Accordingly, I told that young scholars should try to have fun while they can––we grow up all too quickly.

The dean and our HLFY team exchanged sincere thanks. Returning home, I felt lucky and grateful to have been offered the chance to join HLFY and to feel jolly and involved with the community.