After a sixth successful year, a program in Bridgeport which aims to ensure elementary students are active and healthy is hoping to be able to expand.
At the start of the 2023 fall semester, Kicks for Kids was able to give out about 250 pairs of sneakers to every child enrolled in Bridgeport Elementary School.
Organizer Andrew Plummer of Plummer Insurance explained the idea came about when he asked Chuck Lambert, Bridgeport Schools Superintendent at the time, about a way to give back to the community.
Plummer tells KNEB News Lambert told him told one area of need was proper footwear for the kids. “They will show up to PE wearing cowboy boots, which will force them to take off and wear their socks, which obviously causes some concern for some injuries and things like that as they’re moving around, or they were showing up with maybe “hand-me-downs” that have been in their family for a couple of siblings, and they’ve been kind of worn out. So we kind of came up with this idea to start a program to be able to provide every student in kindergarten through 6th grade with a pair of adequate tennis shoes.”
Plummer partnered with Ben Iske of Bridgeport Family Dental for the creation of Kicks for Kids, which initially tried to source as many sneakers as possible from local sources. Trial and error have led to changes to the program over the years, with the effort moving from taking physical measurements of students’ feet to relying on parents and guardians to provide that information. The organization also now works with online sneaker suppliers, which streamlines the process when it comes to returning and replacing shoes that are found out to be too small.
Kicks for Kids is hoping to take the program to other elementary schools, initially with expansion in Morrill County, but would need to overcome some stumbling blocks.
“Our goal is to ultimately find a shoe brand that’s willing to work with us, make the process even that much more simpler, but also kind of give us a little bit of a price break to be able to go do this program with other schools. And there are obviously some targeted school areas or districts that we have in mind that we would like to expand to,” said Plummer, “but from a cost perspective, right now, it’s kind of prohibiting us a little bit by paying full retail.”
He added that if there were other organizations or businesses interested in joining the effort, that would provide additional sources that could help bring the program to other school districts in the area.
For more information on the program you can go online to the KicksForKids website.