“Laynee’s One Goal” is to provide shoes for children in need
When 8-year-old Laynee Kirby saw a classmate with holes in her shoes, she couldn’t help but think about it. She went home and told her parents about it, concerned about her friend who might not be able to participate in school activities and feel comfortable all day in the wrong footwear.
His father, Andrew Kirby, a Caribou High School science teacher, football coach and recently named 2021 Aroostook County Teacher of the Year, and his wife Brittany have started making a plan. Taking inspiration from Hillary Hoyt, fellow Andrew County Teacher of the Year, who experienced a similar issue in her Waldo County area, Andrew and Brittany reflected on how they could help Laynee make a difference. in his school and his region.
Researching other similar programs across the country, they found that the right footwear for children could mean up to 56% improvement in school attendance and 70% increase in physical activity available to the child. ‘school.
âThere are so many social issues that children face and this is just one of them and can sometimes be the determining factor that motivates a child to go to school,â said Andrew Kirby.
âWhen the kids have shoes that fit them, they can focus and learn more in school,â Laynee added.
Andrew, or Mr. Kirby, as the students call him, got in touch with Dr. Valerie Waldemarson, the District’s Maine Graduate Employment Specialist (JMG), who he knew would have ideas to launch this project. She immediately jumped into the action.
“Given the level of economically disadvantaged students in our school district, I agreed to undertake this project to raise awareness of a need in our student body, to teach my current JMG students essential skills that are relevant to the skills taught in my class and mentor a sophomore with a passion for service, âsaid Dr. Waldemarson.
Incorporating her high school JMG class, Dr. Waldemarson developed Laynee’s sole focus into a multidimensional, interdisciplinary, project-based learning lesson for her students, which encompasses leadership development, social awareness, civic awareness, career development, community service and financial literacy. .
Crocs, the shoe company, donated generously to the project along with another local retailer, who offered a discount on shoes purchased for the project, and many former Caribou High School students also donated. very generous. Haney’s and Sleepers are two Caribou companies that also help support the project. Additionally, the JMG Viking Pantry Project is also supporting Laynee by purchasing 10 donation boxes and purchasing printed materials for the project.
In partnership with art teacher Jessica Goodwin, the group cut wooden hearts that will accompany each pair of shoes labeled “Laced with Love by Laynee”. These were created and cut out using technology at Caribou High School and show students how to enhance their presentations using the technology available to them at school. Additionally, Jessica Goodwin and her digital media class are on board to help develop marketing materials.
Mr. Kirby’s varsity soccer team helps tie hearts to every shoe collected and donated. âWe are using the project as a way to help demonstrate the importance of community service to our players. Laynee, along with our other children, took me to practices and games that allowed the girls to bond with them, âKirby said. “I think that’s a key part of their willingness to support her in this area.”
They are filling a closet with shoes of all sizes for school-aged youth in the area which will be made available to students or teachers on request for those who may need them. Another element of Laynee’s sole focus is to use the school social worker and guidance counselors to help connect with families in need, to ensure they accept the donated shoes.
The project also set up donation boxes at the Caribou Community School, which serves students from Kindergarten to Grade 8, Caribou High School, the Superintendent’s Office and a few other locations in town. The gym that Laynee attends (Allstar Gymnastics) is also supporting her by allowing her to set up a donation box at their Presque Isle and Houlton gyms.
“We are fortunate to have an incredible leadership team and believe with all our hearts that none of this would be possible without the constant encouragement of our Superintendent, Tim Doak, Deputy Superintendent Jane McCall and the CHS Trustees,” Dr Eric McGough and Evan Graves, to meet students where they are at and take their education to the next level whenever possible, âsaid Dr Waldemarson.
Because the problem of students not having the proper equipment needed to participate equitably in school is not unique to Caribou, after becoming fully operational in schools in the Caribou area, Laynee’s Sole Purpose hopes to expand its efforts to help surrounding towns and schools in Aroostook County.