“This program ties in with our goal of reducing childhood obesity and the issues that go along with this problem,” he said. “By providing athletic shoes to children, we hope that they will be active in school and at home, and that they will be able to focus in the classroom to be the best students that they can be.”
The program was created in 2009 by Jerry Baird, a retired coal miner from Union County, to boost self-esteem and remove barriers to optimal school performance. It has grown to include 18 counties and four independent school districts. In 2013, the program provided shoes for over 3,000 students chosen by school principals, teachers, guidance counselors and family resource coordinators.
“With the support of corporate sponsors, like Baptist Health, individual donations and the work of dozens of volunteers, eligible children will receive new quality athletic shoes to help build their self-esteem and boost their confidence, which promotes a positive outlook toward learning,” said Shirley Hendrix, Happy Feet Corporate Treasurer. “Happy Feet, and of course the children, are so grateful for the support of Baptist Health. This will put a smile on the faces of hundreds of students that will in turn perform better in the classroom.”
Hopkins County estimates that there are 700 children that would qualify for the program. In Muhlenberg County 556 pairs of shoes were given out in January 2014 and in Webster County there was a need for 378 pairs of shoes for the 2014-2015 school year.
Baptist Health Madisonville is part of the Baptist Health family of hospitals and physicians, one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare systems in Kentucky. Baptist Health Madisonville proudly serves western Kentucky residents with eight locations to meet the needs of Kentuckians close to home. As an integrated health provider, it includes 100 primary care and specialist physicians, a 410-bed hospital with a state-of-the-art 20-bed Critical Care Unit and 10-bed Observation Unit, an Education and Research Division with a Family Medicine Residency, award-winning Women’s Health, advanced Cancer Care and a progressive Heart & Vascular Center. Guided by a values-based culture to deliver clinical and service excellence consistently, Baptist Health Madisonville strives for excellent care, every time.
Information provided by Kristy Quinn
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