Basketball

Tucson High kicks off “Kicks 4 Kids” program


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Tucson senior Alexis Cortez with the three dozen pairs of shoes her school collected Friday night during their games with Marana. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Tucson senior Alexis Cortez with the three dozen pairs of shoes her school collected Friday night during their games with Marana. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The Tucson High girl’s basketball program collected three dozen pairs of tennis shoes Friday night to kick off the 1st Annual Kicks 4 Kids program.

“Kicks 4 Kids” is program designed to collect tennis shoes so less fortunate children can participate properly in elementary school physical education programs. I noticed the need in my own students over the last 15 years or so and began to purchase a pair or two every month or so to help fill that need. In time, the cost began too much to keep up with even when a few other teachers joined in.

In all, I spent over $3,000 but it wasn’t enough. Not even close.

The program I started at my school received a major boost a couple of summers ago when my friend Brad Allis profiled my efforts in the Explorer newspaper. That article produced hundreds of pairs of shoes from the community and financial donations so we could buy more. But, still, not enough.

The program began at Rio Vista Elementary and we now have shoes at Holaway Elementary and Coronado K-8. All these schools are Title I schools and there are so many more.

The South Tucson Lions Club raised almost $200 as seed money so I could expand the program and “Kicks 4 Kids” became a reality.

The ides is to have high school sports teams collect one pair of sneakers per player for kids and we would deliver them to local PE teachers or school social workers to pass out to their students as needed. As the article in the story by Allis points out, kids are either showing up to school with torn tennis shoes or the family blows their budget on dress shoes for their daughters to wear to school. Not a good idea.

Besides the Tucson girl’s basketball program, the Ironwood Ridge girl’s basketball program, the Pusch Ridge boy’s basketball program, the Pusch Ridge soccer teams, the Salpointe girl’s soccer program and the Catalina Foothills boy’s basketball program have all agreed to participate.

We are hoping to raise over 500 pairs of kid’s sneakers, size 1-5, by then end of this sports season.

The shoes collected at Tucson High will be sent over to Roskruge K-8 this week.

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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com

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