Back to School

Back to School time means buying the proper supplies, getting new clothes and for the children located living in the Children's Village, it meant going shoe shopping with the Mike Alstott Family Foundation.

On the Friday before school was set to open, 24 kids ranging from age 3 to 17 joined Mike Alstott, his wife Nicole, and three children to purchase shoes in preparation for the big day. They all assembled the Sports Authority Store in St. Petersburg, who was gracious enough to let the group shop one hour before the store opened to the general public. The store also helped the cause by offering 10% off the entire purchase.

All Children were welcomed by Mike and his wife with a few simple instructions: 1) everybody gets to pick out two pairs of shoes and a package of socks, 2) Older kids, make sure you help out the younger kids, and 3) Have fun!

All shopping seemed to be going without a hitch until it was discovered that one youngster was unable to find shoes small enough to fit his feet. A traumatic situation was quickly averted by the quick thinking of Nicole Alstott, when she escorted the young boy to pick out the next best thing to a new pair of shoes, a bike!

With all of the shopping completed in just under one hour, Mike and Nicole had a chance to reflect on the morning's events. It's such an honor to be able to give these kids something they desperately need to go back to school Said Mike. I know the state helps the family provide clothes and school supplies, but it seems the shoes are left out of the mix he added. We can all remember the first day of school, and we can all recall what everyone was wearing and how they looked. We just wanted these kids to be feeling their best by looking their best to help their self esteem, which in turn will ultimately help them in the classroom.

It is such an honor to put on an event like this. Remarked Nicole. The look on these kids faces says it all. And to know our own children get to help and get to know these kids as well is a true blessing for us. It means so much to Mike, myself and the kids to host an event like this. Not only are these kids having fun, trying on shoes, taking pictures, playing with our kids, but they are happy and thankful, and boy did they let us know. This is a very happy day for them and for us and we will all remember this for a long long time.

The Salvation Army's Children's Village is designed to provide stable, long-term placement for large, hard-to-place sibling groups who have been removed from their families. Children's Village provides a home, a neighborhood and a community these children can call their own - with the security of knowing they can live in the Village throughout their childhood.