The shoes and jackets provided into low decile schools by children’s charity, KidsCan, are doing more than keeping pupils warm and dry. For some, it has meant their first ever opportunity to join a sports team. By Amanda Farmilo, KidsCan
At a recent netball tournament in Auckland, our staff noticed a whole school team kitted out in our Vodafone Warriors raincoats and some with KidsCan shoes. The teachers who were there supporting the children said they haven’t been able to enter a team before because the students didn’t all have shoes and now with KidsCan support, they could!
We also heard from a school in the Waikato who had a family of girls walk 3kms in the pouring rain to get to school, and they were only able to because they had our raincoats. The principal was chuffed that they’d made the effort to attend in such bad weather, and knows it’s only because of the clothing we’ve been able to support them with.
Wherever I go, I get great feedback on the raincoats we provide – everyone agrees that they excellent quality and they are ‘cool’ so the kids love them! The most common phrases I hear are: “They’re brilliant”, “The kids take pride in wearing them”, “The children had big smiles on their faces when they received them”, and that they are an equaliser.
One principal told me that his kids were “rapt” and they were wearing them the following day in 30C heat! In fact, many schools tell me that the biggest issue is not getting children to wear the coats, but to actually take them off!
The shoes and jackets have been a big help at school camps, too. I often hear about children turning up for camp with just the clothes on their back, and no toilet bag with hygiene items. One school in Hastings told how some of the year five and six children had arrived at camp with no outdoor clothing, footwear or sleeping bags. The KidsCan jackets and shoes were the warmest items they had.