Catholic Schools Week
Pupils at St. Bede School in Hayward — from left, Elizabeth Phillips, Pablo Rubio-Arroyo, Gabriel Toscano, Vicente Villagomez, Cesar Munoz Arroyo Jr. — showed an "Attitude of Gratitude" in filling more than 16 big bags of shoes to send to North Africa.
St. Bede School sends shoes to North Africa
Can you imagine living in a place with extreme heat, walking along dirt paths with rocks and stones, and being exposed to infections and illness caused from being barefoot? People in North Africa endure these living conditions as part of their daily routine. In some cases, children are unable to attend school due to the diseases they contract from walking around barefoot.
The students from St. Bede School in Hayward learned about the dire needs of people in a North African village and partnered with Sports Basement in Sunnyvale to respond with compassion.
According to the store manager, "People have no shoes so what we consider trash is golden to them. The people duct tape together shoes."
To launch the outreach project, co-principals Jocelyn Pierre-Antoine and Sue Barton performed a skit for the student body in the gym. "During the skit, Sue wore nice clothes, carried plenty of bags of shoes, started to take them out of boxes to show to all of the students," Pierre-Antoine said. "She talked about all the different kinds of shoes that she had in her closet and the ones she had just purchased. Then I walked across the room with simple clothes and no shoes. We had dialogue with each other to talk about our different lives and upbringings. We talked about the struggles in Africa and introduced the outreach project."
The entire school community participated in the shoe drive, focusing on the idea of showing an "Attitude of Gratitude."
In the classroom, kindergartners were invited to draw what they did for the shoe drive and how they felt about donating their shoes to help others in Africa. The question, Why is it important to help others? was explored.
Kindergartener Jasmine Deguzman shared her concern, "I donated shoes to North Africa because I don't want anyone to be barefoot." Second-grader Mia De Leon said, "I donated because we have a lot of shoes we don't wear, and people don't have as much as we do."
Eighth-graders considered questions such as: Why do you think there are people in Africa who have no shoes? What causes injustice to occur throughout our world? How can we bring about justice to our world? What Catholic Social Principles are you supporting when you participate in our shoe drive for Africa? Why are the Catholic Social Principles important?
On a Sunday morning, a few students and parents bagged all the shoes to be dropped off at Sports Basement. "It made me feel good that people in Africa could have happy lives and not get foot diseases," said Elizabeth Phillips, a fourth-grader who helped on the weekend. The importance of serving the needs of the poor in developing countries touched the heart of eighth-grader Naomi Mayer, who stated with conviction, "I donated shoes to Africa because it's the right thing to do, and all people should be treated equally no matter what culture."
The school used its new green screen broadcasting equipment, which the first-grade teacher earned through a grant she wrote, to create a news broadcast about Africa to show to all of the classes.
As a community of faith, knowledge and service, the school collected more than 16 large trash bags of new and used shoes to send to their brothers and sisters in Africa. The St. Bede families served as faith-filled individuals and global citizens who embraced the worldwide community by sharing with those less fortunate in North Africa.
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