EL MONTE – Potrero School third-grader Clarissa Alvillar beamed with happiness after unwrapping and trying on her new gray Champion athletic shoes, which she said luckily matched her favorite color and fit comfortably.

“I’m going to use these shoes to go to parties and run through the park,” Alvillar said. “I’m going to definitely be able to outrun my brother now. I’m 100 percent thankful for my new shoes.”

Alvillar was one of 300 students in kindergarten through third-grade at Potrero School to receive a new pair of athletic shoes during the Shoes That Fit event on Jan. 23. Shoes That Fit is a Claremont-based nonprofit that battles poverty by giving children new pairs of shoes with help from the community.

Potrero School’s event was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center, which began gathering donations in November. Several nurses from the hospital attended the event and handed out shoes to the overjoyed children.

Students received a variety of brands from the community, including Adidas, Nike and Converse.

“We’ve participated in Shoes That Fit for many years at Kaiser – supporting the community is a major part of Kaiser’s mission,” Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Chief Operations Officer Michelle Nowicki said. “Donating to Shoes That Fit is a perfect way for Kaiser to give back to the community and directly benefit people because it’s a need that has a lot of value.”

Providing children with new shoes is an excellent way to improve self-esteem, attendance rates and class participation, Shoes That Fit Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Nekeda Newell-Hall said.

Newell-Hall said donation events are the best part of her job because she gets to see pure excitement from children.

During the event, Potrero School welcomed its benefactors with applause and hugs while the school’s Mariachi Academy performed “De Colores” and “La Bamba.”

Third-grader Amy Mojica said she looks forward to wearing her shoes while playing soccer and is thankful because she knows that shoes are expensive, so this donation provides financial relief for her parents.

“We would like to thank Shoes That Fit and Kaiser Permanente for providing such a wonderful treat for Potrero School – it was amazing to see our students smiling and jumping around after trying on their new shoes,” Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said. “These shoes will go a long way in helping our students stay happy, healthy and positive in and out of the classroom.”


EMCSD_SHOES1: Three Potrero School students smile and scream with excitement as they hold their new pairs of Sketchers, Vans and Nikes during the Shoes That Fit donation event on Jan. 23.

EMCSD_SHOES2: Several Potrero School students smile and show off their new shoes during a Shoes That Fit event on Jan. 23. The event was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center, which provided 300 pairs of shoes for the school’s K-3 students.