ALMOST 170 children from three northern suburbs schools will be getting new sports shoes in time for the start of school next year, thanks to an initiative spearheaded by Globalheart Church in Joondalup.
The Pair Up program is now in its second year and is a campaign of Northern Compassion, a not-for-profit organisation that helps Perth’s needy. Last year, the Pair Up team gave away 80 pairs of shoes.
Globalheart’s senior pastor Gerard Keehan said the aim of the program was not just to make sure children had shoes – it was also to help them avoid being bullied by other students over what kind of shoes they wore.
“Children get bullied or picked on at school for a number of reasons,” he said.
“One of them, research has shown, is not wearing the ‘right’ clothes or the ‘right’ shoes.
“This can have far-reaching negative consequences on their ability to concentrate on their studies and affects their overall development.
“With Pair Up, we want to not only ease the financial burden of buying new shoes, which can be very expensive, but also take away one reason for bullying.”
With $11,000 in their kitty after a year of fundraising, organisers and church members Craig and Mel Stevens approached Jim Kidd, owner of Jim Kidd Sports, who sold them all 170 pairs of shoes at half price.
Then, with the help of chaplains from the three primary schools – Sommerly, Merriwa and Clarkson – the couple identified 70 families in need and over the course of three months visited the schools and fitted each child individually.
They will present the shoes at the church’s Joondalup premises on December 20. Visit www.facebook.com/pairupaustralia .