What is the Sneaker Exchange?
The Sneaker Exchange program provides economically disadvantaged children a pair of durable sneakers to participate safely in all school activities, comfortably, and proudly. Every public school in Indian River County is served by this program. There are 28 scheduled exchanges for the elementary students at Shoe Carnival from September through May. 

Secondary students receive vouchers that are redeemable for a new pair of sneakers. School coordinators help to identify children in need using the Free and Reduced Lunch Report.

Who are the benefactors & participants?
The program is supported entirely through private donations and grants.

Elementary Participants:
Elementary school students (grades K-5th) are identified by school staff using the Free and Reduced Lunch Report. The children receive an invitation to participate and a permission slip for their guardian to sign. Schools are scheduled for visits by the EF-IRC. Students arrive by school bus to participate in the visit. School personnel and volunteers assist visits that are led by EF-IRC board members and staff.

The students are provided a new pair of socks. Their feet are measured and a volunteer assists them in the selection of a pair of sneakers. The student may select any pair he/she like. The student is then encouraged to wear their new pair back to school. The old pair is sent home with the student.

Secondary Participants:
Secondary students (grades 6th – 12th) are identified and invited to participate in the same way as an elementary student.

How does the Ed Foundation participate?
We fund the program and provide administrative oversight. We collaborate with the Student Services Department of the School District of Indian River County to schedule visits and to ensure each school has a coordinator to facilitate the program. We are also on-site for the 28 visits.

What other groups or organization are involved?
We have several groups that provide volunteers to the program:
Holy Cross Catholic Church, Grand Harbor Community Outreach, Indian River Club – Head, Heart and Hands, the Junior League of Indian River County, the Exchange Clubs, and the Young Professionals – Indian River Chamber of Commerce.

When does it happen?
Elementary visits are scheduled 28 times a year from September through April. Secondary students are served through vouchers during this same time period.

What is the goal?
To keep children on a path of learning. In addition, the simple gift of sneakers allows children to participate in all school activities. 

Are there volunteers?
Yes. Volunteers are needed on visit days from 9:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

What is the Ed Foundations investment in dollars?
$11,500 to provide sneakers and socks.

What is the Ed Foundations investment in human and other resources?
$10,000 in staff time to implement the program.

How is the performance to goal measured?

Program Evaluation:

  1. Surveys are administered to all school principals, guidance counselors and student support specialists. 
  2. Self-audits are conducted to measure the number of times a student attends an exchange or receives a voucher during the school year.
  3. Vouchers are reviewed by Education Foundation and Shoe Carnival staff to insure only sneakers were selected by secondary students who received vouchers.
  4. The Free and Reduced Lunch report is reviewed quarterly to track the percentage of students receiving assistance at all public schools in Indian River County.

Why would a donor choose to support this program?
Provide children with new sneakers to safely participate in all school actives.


Laica Gerwien-Moreta

Laica Gerwien-Moreta is a government contracting consultant with proven experience in the Information Technology, Aviation, Aerospace, and Health Industries. Laica previously held leadership roles within various defense contractors supporting domestic and international operations as well as medical management solutions and humanitarian programs.

Laica has also served as an Empowered Official overseeing all International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) related activities and responsible for the strategic alignment of resources and staffing in support of global supply chain. Laica holds a bachelor’s degree in technical management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and professional certification in government contracting from The George Washington University, School of Business.

She is a certified contract manager (GWCCM), member of the National Contract Management Association Space Coast Chapter, and regularly participates in professional development training.