U of L Pronghorn ‘sole’ sis­ters


Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS - Ti­jana Martin LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD Fol­low @TMart­inHer­ald on Twit­ter

The last thing most peo­ple put on be­fore leav­ing their home is a pair of shoes, but oth­ers strug­gle to find a pair that fits.

That’s why the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge Pronghorns women’s bas­ket­ball team, with sup­port of the fac­ulty of ed­u­ca­tion and Run­ners Soul, launched a Re­claim Your Sole shoe drive.

On Thurs­day, mem­bers of the team, along with their coach Dave Adams, de­liv­ered more than 100 pairs of shoes to Leth­bridge Fam­ily Ser­vices — Im­mi­grant Ser­vices.

Adams spear­headed the drive as he knows first­hand the need within the com­mu­nity. Prior to his role as the coach, he worked with LFS and spent 25 years in pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion.

“So, I sort of knew a lit­tle about the com­mu­nity, but most of all the needs of peo­ple in schools,” he said.

Es­pe­cially those “com­ing to a new coun­try that may not have all the nec­es­sary parts for suc­cess in school.”

Adams feels for­tu­nate to be in­volved in ath­let­ics, but he’s no­ticed many ath­letes are lucky enough to have sev­eral pairs of shoes.

“We see shoes all the time at a post-sec­ondary level and, un­for­tu­nately, a lot of the time they end up in the garbage,” he said. “So we just wanted to try to find a way to keep those out of the land­fills, put them on the feet of peo­ple that could re­ally use them.”

The drive re­minded Zoe Dahl just how priv­i­leged she is to be an ath­lete.

“I think some­times we for­get it’s not a right, it’s a priv­i­lege to play on a team like this and it’s a priv­i­lege to be able to get shoes to play in,” she said, not­ing many refugees new to Canada are not as for­tu­nate.

“It’s pretty in­cred­i­ble just to be able to give back that way be­cause I have a mil­lion pairs of shoes and some peo­ple don’t even have any.”

Sarah Amies, the di­rec­tor for Im­mi­grant Ser­vices, knows just how true that sen­ti­ment is.

“Many of our new­com­ers that we wel­come into the com­mu­nity are not equipped with the sort of footwear that they’re go­ing to need to live in Canada, par­tic­u­larly those that are com­ing in the win­ter time,” she said.

“I’ve seen far too many kids cram­ming their feet into tiny lit­tle shoes be­cause there’s just been noth­ing else, or shar­ing dad’s shoes and go­ing to the school in dad’s shoes — it’s just not a good sit­u­a­tion.”

Thanks to the ini­tia­tive, Amies is hope­ful for the fu­ture.

“What we’ll be able to do is, as soon as we wel­come a new­comer fam­ily, we will be able to show them the ar­ray and in­vite them to equip them­selves with shoes, so that will be one lit­tle is­sue out of the way for them as they look down the jour­ney of set­tle­ment.”

The drive has no cut off date. Do­na­tions for gen­tly used shoes, ath­letic or not, may be dropped off at Run­ners Soul, lo­cated at 2646 South Park­side Dr., or at the U of L Sport & Recre­ation Ser­vices cus­tomer desk lo­cated on the first floor of the 1st Choice Sav­ings Cen­tre.

“We all un­der­stand that in the world, the needs are in­fi­nite,” Adams added.

“If we do a re­ally good job, it will have enough syn­ergy; there isn’t an end date on it un­til ev­ery sin­gle per­son that needs a pair of shoes, has a pair of shoes on their feet.”

Re­claim Your Sole is af­fil­i­ated with Soles4Souls, a non-profit based in Nashville, Ten­nessee.

“Re­ally, it’s a global piece and we do work with Soles4Souls, so shoes that are do­nated to this project not only stay here, but they also go to Soles4Souls, which fo­cus right now is in Hon­duras.”

“The rea­son our women’s team re­ally was ex­cited about this project is that when the shoes go out in­ter­na­tion­ally, they go to places in the world and pro­vide em­ploy­ment for women who are oth­er­wise un­em­ploy­able,” he said. “We just love what it looks like and happy to be the con­nec­tive piece of it all.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit

Her­ald photo by Ti­jana Martin

Danielle Fritzke, left, and Zoe Dahl of the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge Pronghorns women’s bas­ket­ball team dropped off do­nated shoes at Leth­bridge Fam­ily Ser­vices — Im­mi­grant Ser­vices on Thurs­day with their team­mates as part of their Re­claim­ing Your Sole shoe drive. @TMart­inHer­ald

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