The mission of the Sneaker Exchange is to promote improved self-esteem and proper physical development in children by providing comfortable appropriate school shoes to every public school student in need in Indian River County. The Sneaker Exchange Committee is responsible for the facilitation of the program, assisting in finding funding, and providing volunteers to facilitate exchange visits.
Nearly 20,000 pairs of shoes and socks have been distributed since the program began in 1993. Through the simple act of providing children in need sneakers, they are able to participate in all school activities. Since children in need come in all sizes, the program serve public school students in grades Pre-K through 12th.
Elementary students are treated to a trip to the Payless ShoeSource store to select a new pair of sneakers. Secondary students are awarded vouchers that they can then present at the Payless ShoeSource for a pair of sneakers. School Coordinators utilize the Free and Reduce Lunch Report as a means for identifying children in need.
To date, the Education Foundation is experiencing the greatest increases in service to secondary students who receive vouchers. This is also the most expensive group to help. The average cost of a pair of shoes for an elementary student is around $18.00, the average cost for a secondary student is $25.00.
We are especially grateful to our many donors including Bank of America Charitable Foundation, George E. Warren Corporation, Grand Harbor Outreach, Indian River Community Foundation, PNC/Harbor Federal Foundation, John's Island Community Foundation, Quail Valley Charities, Toyota, Scion, Kia of Vero Beach, United Way of Indian River County, Wachovia/Wells Fargo Foundation and The William Bingham Foundation. Our volunteers also make a difference. Holy Cross Catholic Church and the Junior League of Indian River County, the founders of the program, help to facilitate this valuable program. Through this support, students able to put their best foot forward.