Roger Vivier was a French fashion designer who gave the world stiletto heels.

“To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give reality to one’s dreams,” he once said.

Well, the styles were different but the words apply to the latest project by Shoes That Fit to benefit DMPS students.

Wednesday morning the organization that’s become a frequent partner of the district in meeting the most basic needs of kids came through again, this time by providing new shoes to any 9th grader at North who needed them.

Mediacom/OnMedia is the local liaison between STF and DMPS and volunteers from there and Famous Footwear arrived first thing to prep for the thundering herd scheduled to stampede into the auditorium at 9:52. They quickly erected a skyline of shoeboxes on the stage totaling 229 pairs. At 9:47 a passing bell sounded – battle stations! Staffers took their places behind tables that divvied the alphabet into thirds. Every box had a student’s name on it. In the roughly half-hour allotted for the distribution, Shoebox City was leveled.

“Shoes That Fit came to our school during freshman orientation on August 17th to size our incoming class,” said Charles Mercer, Community School Coordinator at North. “The students were able to select from a menu of about ten styles.”

When the selections were all made Mercer, an East grad, noticed that NO ONE picked the black shoes with the red stripes. For freshmen, the Class of ’21 arrived well-schooled in Polar Bear rivalries.

Bob Montgomery is the Chapter Director for Shoes That Fit and he coordinated this project, one of approximately 25 the organization expects to collaborate on with DMPS this year.

“Our active season is the first half of the school year,” he said. “We were brainstorming over the summer and thought we’d approach North to kind of kick things off. The transition to high school can be tough in some ways, so we thought this might make it easier.”

Montgomery said that a $10,000 grant from Variety Club underwrote the bulk of the cost of this giveaway.

It’s Homecoming Week at North. For most of the staff and student body Wednesday was Celebrity Day. Principal Ben Graeber, for instance, was dressed out like Mike Rowe of TV’s Dirty Jobs fame. But for the freshest batch of Polar Bears it was D-(for delivery) Day.

They’ll cover a lot of ground in their new shoes. And they’ll certainly outgrow them. But while they last they make a great metaphor for realizing dreams, even without stiletto heels.

Shoes That Fit has community partners where customers/clients can pick up “need slips” submitted by area schools. Look for the displays at the following locations and find out how you can get involved:

  • G&L Clothing, 1801 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart, 2075 N.W. 94th St., Clive
  • KIOA Radio, 7504 N.E. 38th Ave., Altoona
  • Stew Hansen Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep, 12103 Hickman Rd., Urbandale
  • Dewey Ford, 3055 S.E. Delaware Ave., Ankeny
  • Dewey Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep, 3175 S.E. Delaware Ave., Ankeny
  • 1st National Bank – Johnston, 8460 Birchwood Ct. #1100, Johnston
  • 1st National Bank – Valley Junction, 301 5th St., West Des Moines
  • 1st National Bank – West Glen, 5625 Mills Civic #100, West Des Moines
  • YMCA (Downtown), 501 Grand Ave., Des Moines
  • YMCA (John R. Grubb), 1161 11th St., Des Moines
  • YMCA (Waukee), 210 N. Warrior Ln., Waukee
  • YMCA (South Suburban), 401 E. Army Post Rd., Des Moines
  • YMCA (Walnut Creek), 948 73rd St., Windsor Heights


Photos of Shoes That Fit at North High School

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