Cold day doesn’t deter brave barefooted souls
April 11, 2011 —
I gathered my usual belongings and went to class, like any other day.
Except this time, I did not bring my shoes.
Instead, I went shoeless for the entire day in an attempt to try to understand what it is like for a child who goes through a day without shoes.
The occasion was “SVSU’s Day Without Shoes.” The event is sponsored by the campus chaper of TOMS Shoes SVSU. The task was easy, but the impact was great.
“One simple thing like going without your shoes can affect others,” said Natalie Jensen, president of the TOMS SVSU campus club. “I hope people learn how to give back.”
My first class was at 11:30 a.m. The ground was freezing and it was beginning to snow. Normally, I would have wanted to give up and put on socks and shoes for warmth. Not today. I toughed it out because I knew there was somebody who did not have the option to put on shoes, and for at least one day I needed to try to understand that.
After walking to and from class shoeless, grabbing the eyes of bewildered people walking opposite of me, it was time for the barefoot walk. The idea of walking outside where there was who-knows-what on the ground scared me a little, but once again I realized that some people do not get the opportunity to avoid things on the ground with their shoes. So once again, I toughed it out.
Throughout the walk I met a lot of people who joined for different reasons.
“I watched a documentary and it changed my life,” Jensen said on why she does events like this. “I want to help people who are less fortunate. I am devoted to helping others.”
“It spreads awareness,” said Kate Nankervis, an elementary education freshman who participated. “Some children get diseases because they aren’t able to wear shoes, and this might let others know about it.”
Sarah Devitt, occupational therapy freshman, spoke of her experience through the day.
“I knew it was a good cause,” Devitt said. “The only thing that kept me going without shoes was that I knew in some places, people don’t have shoes.”
After going the entire day without shoes, I have definitely gained a new perspective of things. I have also gained a few scraped and bruises on my feet courtesy of the rocks scattered around the campus sidewalks. I honestly cannot imagine going for more than a day without shoes, something that I definitely took for granted before the event.
“My feet are killing me and it’s only been one day,” Devitt said. “I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live without shoes.”
I really enjoyed my time without shoes, minus when I was stepping in gunk, because what I learned by stepping outside of my shoes was something that would be hard to do otherwise.
I recommend this event to anybody who has yet to participate in it, as would everyone else I met during the event.
“It’s a great cause,” Nankervis said. “It’s something easy to do for one day, it’s worth it to be slightly uncomfortable for one day because you could possibly change someone’s life.”