Samantha Garcez, 9, walked across the sidewalk after dipping her feet in several colors of paint, leaving brightly-colored footprints behind her.
“Today is all about learning how lucky we are to have shoes when there are kids in Africa who don’t have any,” Samantha said.
The barefoot day was part of One Day Without Shoes, the seventh annual day, initiated by Toms Shoes, when people around the world go without shoes to raise awareness for children’s health and education issues.
Peace Montessori students in all grades participated in activities including decorating T-shirts, a walk across the school’s campus and a relay race to better understand what it would be like to carry water far distances across varied terrain.
By midmorning, Gabriel Alonzo, 9, said his feet were already hurting, but it was good to learn what children in other countries go through.
“In Africa and some other countries, people don’t have shoes, so they would have to walk all over like this,” Gabriel said. “They might not be able to work if they didn’t have shoes because it’s dangerous.”
To help solve that problem, the students dug through their closets and donated shoes for Soles4Souls, an organization that sends shoes to wholesalers in developing nations to be sold in an effort to create jobs for poor people, teacher Alicia Purdy said.
“We’re always trying to teach the children about the importance of giving back to the community, and this seemed like a great project for them to do,” Purdy said.