Friday, October 25, 2013

Walk In Beauty - Fall 2013

 by Cindy Cook and Ray Coleman

The crispness of fall was in the air.  School had begun and many children on the Navajo reservation were desperately in need of a proper fitting pair of shoes.  Our schedule for the fall 2013 delivery of Walk In Beauty shoes happened to overlap with the Dilkon-Leupp-Birdsprings food run.  As a result, we were on the road and headed to the Navajo reservation at the same time as some of the individuals traveling to participate in that run.  Wendy Sanborn, the founder of Walk In Beauty, was one of those individuals.

Over 6 years ago, Wendy began putting shoes on school children on the Navajo reservation.  Her first delivery was to the Monument Valley Elementary school.  We were thrilled to discover that her travel schedule would allow her to participate in our delivery of shoes to Monument Valley. Here,Wendy and Walk In Beauty school coordinator, Patricia Bigman, sit with Monument Valley students who received a new pair of shoes.

 We enjoyed a balmy 46 degree morning in Many Farms.

At Leupp Boarding School we were greeted with a welcome sign on the board and a thank-you card signed by each of the students receiving shoes.

We rewarded our school coordinator at Tsaile, Josephine Yellow, with a bag of Blue Bird flour for being the first to submit her fall order for shoes.

One child was so used to wearing shoes that were too small that he automatically curled up his toes when he put on his new shoes.  He thought his new shoes were too big and had to be shown to flatten his toes.

Putting on his new socks, this boy simply said, “Aaaaaaahhhhhh.”

A special needs student received a pair of shoes with Velcro.  She was so proud that she could put on her own shoes - and did so multiple times.

“Just slip your foot in and it’ll work.”

One young boy’s only shoes were a pair of slippers.  When he put on his new shoes he said, “Dang, these shoes fits good.”  Then, looking at his slippers, he said, “I don’t need these anymore” and tossed them in the trash.

Even old and worn shoes are valued on the reservation.  A 2nd grade girl said, “I have to take my old shoes home because my mom might need them.”

Pointing to her old shoes, a kindergarten girl said, “These are broken.”
“My old sock has a hole.”

“I want to put on my new socks.”

  The following conversation occurred between two kindergarten students:
      “Mine’s cool.”
      “Mine’s cooler.”
      “Oooooh, I like yours.”
      “These guys are giving me new shoes ‘cause I’m growing.”

A 7th grade boy told us he had been wearing the same pair of shoes for 3 years and showed us that they were falling apart.

Here are a few of the student’s reactions to receiving their new socks and shoes:
  • A 1st grade girl left the room where she’d put on her new shoes.  A few minutes later she ran    back in and exclaimed, “I love my new shoes!”
  • Looking up from her new shoes, a 5th grade girl stated, “Feels good – looks good.”
  • Upon receiving her shoes, a 4th grade girl squealed, “Wahoo, I got new shoes!”
  • A 5th grade boy appeared excited and said, “YES!  I can wear these to P.E.”
  • Speaking to a friend, a 1st grade boy said, “Look, we both got black.”
  • A kindergarten girl asked, “Can we take these home and have them?”
  • Looking over the name tags on the shoes, a 4th grade boy happily said, “Hey, some of my cousins get shoes.”
  • A 1st grade boy proudly said, “I’m seven.  I can tie my own shoes.”
  • After looking inside her new shoes, a kindergarten girl turned to a friend and announced, “There are new socks in there!”
  • A 6th grade girl said, “They’re nice!  Are these my socks?”
With the fall delivery completed, the remaining inventory of shoes was prepared to be stored away until spring.

Questions about Walk In Beauty?  E-mail us

For more photos, click here.

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