IPDG Rusine Mitchell Sinclair received an unexpected surprise at the August District Council meeting when Hensley Scott, District Boys and Girls Home Chair, presented her with a plaque from the Boys and Girls Home at Lake Waccamaw. The recognition was for providing all the young people residing at the Home with sneakers as part of Happy Feet for Kids! She said: “I am used to giving other Rotarians awards so it was quite a shock when the plaque was for me.”
Happy Feet for Kids! was a District 7710 Service Project this past Rotary year focused on providing new sneakers for young people in foster care. During the year Rotarians and Rotary Clubs purchased sneakers for boys and girls and brought them to the 2017 District Conference where Rotarians placed them in RI logo backpacks, along with personalized labels. Upon learning of our campaign from Rotarian Mark Hackett, a co-chair for the project and member of the Baptist Grove Church in Raleigh, the congregation gave a generous $2100.00 donation to Happy Feet for Kids! The partnerships with the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, county foster care agencies within our district, and the Boys and Girls Home enabled our District to provide 777 pairs of sneakers to foster children throughout our District.
To a child in foster care, a pair of fashionable sneakers was an important gift and shows that others care about them. We learned at the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta that foster care children currently in the system or who have recently aged out are at a higher risk of being trafficked because of possible abuse and neglect. Rotary International signaled they are tackling the issue of modern day slavery and human trafficking. Happy Feet for Kids! is a modest way of starting to create awareness of the plight of foster children right within our District.