It’s amazing how international a smile is. ~ Doug McKiernan
On Monday, August 24th, several Windermere Mercer Island brokers gathered to load up all the shoes collected during the Kicks For Kids Shoe Drive. It was time to take them over to Mary’s Place in Seattle. Kids from around the city would be arriving with their families to take part in a back-to-school event at Mary’s Place, so they could get fitted for a new pair of shoes and receive a backpack filled with school supplies. It took two good-sized vehicles to transport all the shoes, and a few more to transport all the WindermereMI volunteers over to Seattle.
Volunteers unloaded the vehicles, transported shoes into the building and set them up the on tables in the fitting area. And when the doors opened to let the families in, our brokers were so happy to be there helping out. Windermere Mercer Island owner Julie Barrows shared, “It was truly heartwarming to be able to help fill a need so immense. The smile on so many faces made it all worthwhile.” Nicole Demers-Changelo had this experience to share, “I was greeted to smiles and clapping from a mother who entrusted me to take her 1 year old son, who wasn’t wearing any shoes, by himself with me to pick out a pair of shoes and a little backpack. I wrangled the wiggle worm and kept him happy while he tried on a handful of shoes and his mother was so proud that he came out smiling.”
Lara Baca really enjoyed meeting a special young lady at Mary’s Place. “I met a 15 year old girl. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She replied a lawyer. She asked if I worked at Mary’s Place. I said was volunteering. She asked if she could volunteer tomorrow. When we got her shoes and backpack I introduced her to one of the head staff. They made arrangements to meet today so she could start volunteering. She was extremely excited. I was impressed by her courage and desire to help others.”
Doug McKiernan described helping a 4 year old girl pick out a pair of shoes, “[she] didn’t speak much, or any, English. She was so tiny, I must have looked like a giant to her. She held on to two of my fingers and we went back to find a pair of shoes and backpack. I showed her a pair of pink Cinderella shoes and her face lit up in a big smile. She tried them on and kept nodding her head yes to every question about how they fit. I finally got her to get up and walk in them and discovered that she had to shuffle to keep them on. Too big. Thankfully we found another pair of pink shoes in her size that she really liked also. It’s amazing how international a smile is.”
Erin Ewing shared, “I had the pleasure of helping fit two special boys for shoes. The younger boy is going into the second grade and was a Captain America fan. He was extremely happy when we found a pair of Captain America slip on shoes in his size. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he said he wanted to be a hunter. When he saw that there was a camouflage print backpack available as well, you should have seen his eyes light up! The older guy is going to be a freshman at Garfield High School. We talked about the school and all the cool stuff available for Garfield students. I recently showed a family homes in the Garfield service area, and was telling this young man about how coveted the school was and that he should really enjoy it there. He’s new to the Seattle area, so I think our conversation helped ease some of his anxiety about going to a new school.”
We owe a big thank you to everyone who volunteered to get the shoes to Mary’s Place and helped with fittings: Anni Zilz, Bonnie Sanborn, Cherrie Lee, Cynthia Schoonmaker, Doug McKiernan, Erin Ewing, Erin Sirianni, Julie Barrows, Kelly Weisfield, Lara Baca, Nicole Demers-Changelo, Peni Scwartz, and Seamus Pelan.