From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
PRESBYTERIAN SHOES PROGRAM RECEIVES
05 May 1996 12:59:00
95158 PRESBYTERIAN SHOES PROGRAM RECEIVES
By Julian Shipp
LUBBOCK, Texas--A Presbyterian shoes program, originally reported in "THE
NEWS of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)," "News Briefs" and "Presbyterian
Survey" magazine, has left a big impression here following national
recognition from an awards program sponsored by the Coalition on Education
"P.S.--Go For It" received an honorable mention in the Wednesday, May
3, edition of "USA TODAY" as one of 60 outstanding education initiatives in
America. The CEI's awards program is titled "Community Solutions for
Out of the 60 programs selected, there were seven national winners and
53 honorable mentions. Five of the programs selected were in Texas,
including "P.S.--Go For It," which involves children living in an at-risk
neighborhood on the east side of Lubbock.
For these children, wearing fancy footgear often means having to
resort to criminal activity like selling drugs, stealing or assaulting
other children who have the coveted shoes. Kids who distribute or sell
drugs can afford to buy premium athletic shoes that other kids only wish
they could afford.
Spearheaded by the session of Messiah Presbyterian Church, "P.S.--Go
For It" is designed to induce students at Iles Elementary School to keep
away from the dope dealer's fast-money lifestyle and stay off drugs. The
program was officially launched on Jan. 9.
"P.S.--Go For It" awards each of 54 children (three students in 18
classrooms) a pair of expensive sports shoes for being an outstanding
student, athlete or citizen. Selected by their teachers, the winning
students are given a certificate, which they take to Footlocker or Kids
Footlocker (located in their local mall) and use to buy any pair of shoes
The school's principal and staff assist the church (a 21-member
African-American congregation of Palo Duro Presbytery) in conducting the
program. The program was conceived last June during a meeting of the
school's community involvement committee.
The Rev. Pam Powell, pastor of Messiah Presbyterian Church, said
"P.S.--Go For It" will be listed in the CEI's "Community Solutions For
Education 1995 Resource Guide," which will be available in late summer.
"It's really exciting," said Powell, who said she was inspired to
create the shoes program after hearing about local children involved in
drug and gang activity. "Especially since the General Assembly contributed
$2,000 to this program in 1994 and it's a brand-new program which has
already gotten national recognition.
"Our congregation is the only African-American congregation in our
presbytery, so it's kind of a neat thing for our church, too," Powell said.
"Sometimes people in a small congregation feel like there's nothing they
can contribute, and now they're really changing their attitudes about
Suzanne Christopher, school principal, said another shoe awards
ceremony will be held on May 17. Following that, she said, the program will
be evaluated by Powell, one elder of the church, the major financial
contributors, a representative from each major shoe supplier, Christopher
and a committee of teachers and administrators.
"We'd sure love to have the program continue," Christopher said. "It's
just been a fantastic program all the way around."
The CEI is a partnership established in 1990 to help communities
improve the quality of education across the U.S.A. As a catalyst for
change, the Coalition links education-related problems with viable
solutions, seeking to provide information in easy-to-use formats.
The group funds the publication of special editorial features of "USA
TODAY," provides feedback to readers, and publishes the CEI resource guide.
The Coalition also sponsors the Community Solutions for Education national
Alexandra Ide, "USA TODAY" spokesperson, said the awards program
winners will receive crystal trophies and the runners-up will get
The 1995 Coalition sponsors are Apple Computer, Inc.; Proctor & Gamble
Company's Crest and Tide brands; Sallie Mae, State Farm Insurance
Companies; and Subaru of America, Inc.
The 1995 Coalition Advisory Council includes American Academy of
Pediatrics, American Association of School Administrators, American Dental
Association, American Federation of Teachers, the Council for Advancement
and Support of Education, the Council of the Great City Schools, National
Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of
Secondary School Principals, National Association of Student Financial Aid
Administrators, National Education Association, National Parent-Teacher
Association, National School Boards Association, Mercy Hospital of
Pittsburgh, National School Public Relations Association and the U.S.
Department of Education.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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