Hi again! There is always something social, fun, educational or healthy going on at the Shawnee Senior Center so if you haven’t dropped by to pick up a calendar to check it all out, you are missing out. We’re in the same building as the Municipal Auditorium (on the east side) so we’re easy to spot, especially since there is a big sign that says “Shawnee Senior Center” on our part of the building.

Hi again! There is always something social, fun, educational or healthy going on at the Shawnee Senior Center so if you haven’t dropped by to pick up a calendar to check it all out, you are missing out. We’re in the same building as the Municipal Auditorium (on the east side) so we’re easy to spot, especially since there is a big sign that says “Shawnee Senior Center” on our part of the building.

Now that I’ve run the commercial about the center, today I am going to tell you about a program run by the ladies of Volunteers Impacting People (better known as VIP) who share office space in the center. They oversee several different volunteer projects but the one for today is “Shoes That Fit.”

Thixe Totty is the director of VIP, which is under the direction of Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency (COCAA) and oversees the Shoes That Fit program with Beth Perry serving as coordinator.

Now on to information about “Shoes that Fit.” This is a national program held all across the states. Their mission: Shoes That Fit tackles one of the most visible signs of poverty in America by giving children in need new athletic shoes to attend school with dignity and joy, prepared to learn, play and thrive. This is important to Pre-K through fifth grade children.

There are many schools that participate in this program and because you should be aware of those schools, here are the ones that participate in our area: CTSA, Horace Mann, Jefferson, North Rock Creek, Pleasant Grove, Sequoyah, Will Rogers, Bethel-Lower and Upper, Barnard-Tecumseh, Cross Timbers-Tecumseh, Betty L. Smith-Seminole, Northwood-Seminole, Wilson-Seminole, Shawnee Early Childhood Center, and Tecumseh Early Childhood Center. If you are an administrator, counselor or teacher at a school that is not a participant in this program and you would like more information – call Thixe Totty at 405-275-7910.

Now you are probably wondering “how does this program work and who receives the shoes and socks?” And here is where each school comes in and does that “extra” that needs to be done to make the program work. The school counselors, teachers and administration personnel identify the children that have a need for a pair of new shoes and socks. Those same school personnel then measure the child’s feet, indicating the age, sex, shoe and sock size and identify each child by first name and after all their information is ready they submit their list to VIP.

VIP then creates a bulletin board with all the children’s needs from each school. VIP makes up a “paper shoe” for each child with all of the child’s pertinent information on it and posts this information on a bulletin board in a central location within participating businesses and groups. Any employees or group members or even other individuals can participate in the program by choosing a paper shoe and purchasing a pair of shoes that will fit that child and then return the paper shoe and the new shoes to the company or group they took it from. VIP volunteers will pick up the “shoe” items, check them in and then deliver the items to the school liaison who then distributes them to the children.

If you are unable to select a “shoe,” monetary donations are always needed to help a child in need throughout the school year. Thixe and Beth want to acknowledge the following sponsors, in no particular order, of this program: Shawnee Junior Service League, Jindal Flims, Eaton Corporation, BancFIrst, St. Anthony’s Clinic, Shawnee Youth Coaliton, Gordon Cooper Tech Center, Seminole Chamber of Commerce, Shawnee Milling Company, Shawnee Kiwanis Diamond K, OG&E, Epsilon Sigma Alpha Int’l District IV, United Way and individuals of the community.

This program in our area accomplished the following in school year 2017-18: 439 children received a new pair of shoes last year along with three pairs of socks in 17 different schools in our area and, since 2003 our Shoes That Fit program has distributed over 12,000 pairs of shoes to school children in this area. Director Totty’s “Shoes that Fit” program is one of 280 volunteer groups nationwide who are providing young school children in need with shoes but it is and has always been a favorite for the two ladies who support it through the COCAA organization. Thixe and Beth have both said many times while working on this program “We’ve never told a child no!”

If you have a business or a group that might be interested in helping to sponsor this program please contact Thixe Totty or Beth Perry at 405-275-7910. School has started and time is running short! I’d also like to say again that you can always make a momentary donation to the “Shoes That Fit” program and these ladies will use your funds to help one more child. Remember to help the “Shoes That Fit” program to continue to fill a need for the children in our schools contact Director Totty at 405-275-7910.

Please remember the children may never meet you, but they will know someone cared!

I want to thank Thixe Totty who audited this column and made sure I got my facts right. Thanks again, Thixe for having my back — ‘preciate you!

And to the rest of you please remember to check out the Wednesday morning duo of Kate Joyce and Mike Askins on KGFF Radio at 8:35 a.m. on FM100.9 and AM 1450 when they once again bring you the Shawnee Senior Center “goings on” update. I say this all the time but I really do always hear something new about the Center that I didn’t know before.

Also check out the new Center website at ShawneeSeniors.org and our Facebook page at Shawnee Senior Center.

And, as always, see you at the center!