Urban League gives kids shoes — and confidence

Jamyah Rhodes loved the pretty new shoes she received.

The weather Saturday was perfect for the Knoxville Area Urban League’s 15th annual Shoes for School event which attracted thousands to Caswell Park in East Knoxville. During this year’s gathering, 1,200 children received new pairs of shoes and as many as 3,000 picked up supplies they needed to start school this week.

“The small gesture of a new pair of shoes has a big impact because that child can now start off the school year with so much more confidence,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “This event means that happens more than 1,200 times to more than 1,200 children in one day. This truly is one of the most joyful and exciting days of the year for the Knoxville Area Urban League staff and volunteers.”

In addition to the Urban League, about 50 other organizations were involved as partners. Some, such as Helen Ross McNabb Center and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, helped by pre-selecting the children to receive the shoes. Others, including Comcast, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Scripps Networks Interactive and Vulcan Materials Company, set up booths to give away school supplies, operate games and inflatables, and pass out drinks and treats.

Urban League board members count down to the balloon release at the start of the event. They include Cavanaugh Mims of Visionary Solutions, left; James McIntyre of the University of Tennessee; and Jan Brown of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Up, up and away!

Look at all those shoes! All were carefully sorted and assigned to a specific child prior to the event.

Thank goodness for the beautiful weather.

Urban League CEO Phyllis Nichols greeting Brad Anders, a Knoxville police officer who also is a Knox County commissioner and a candidate for Knox County mayor.

Volunteer Dawn Ford and her granddaughter, Presley Ford, giving out water bottles.

University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro and his wife, Deb, helped out. He is an Urban League board member.

Loved the slogan on the face painting booth: Every face is a work of art!

Kelly Mules turning Monroe Cook into a work of art!

Urban League board member Avis Young of United Parcel Service (UPS), left, with her mother, Carol Young.

Handsome young Jamarrious Rhodes with his new shoes. That’s what it’s all about.

Children’s Hospital was giving away fuzzy socks!

“They are SO comfortable,” said Susan Johnson.

Ken Miller of the Master Academy of Barbering plies his trade on Tayshawn Edwards.

Linda Shahinian of Scripps passing out school supplies.

They came in cute little pouches.

The slide was popular, as always.

Dr. James McIntyre of UT’s Center for Educational Leadership brought his son, Ryan.

Jim Nichols, left, volunteered as the official photographer. He’s here with wife, Phyllis, and Carmen Hicks, a dedicated volunteer.

More photographers! Pam Rhoades of Moxley Carmichael and Nick Richards, who volunteered to bring his drone camera.

Volunteer Lydia McCoy of UT, left, and Ola Blackmon-McBride of the Urban League.

Rex Lindsey of Vulcan Materials was passing out school supplies and stress relievers shaped like rocks and helmets! Loved those!

Aren’t they cool?

Vulcan also brought real rocks for folks to paint. Here’s Heather Ollis creating a masterpiece.

Urban League board member Tyvi Small, with UT’s Office of Diversity & Community Relations, and his wife, Tammi Small.

Members of the Urban League Young Professionals cooked hotdogs and passed out other items generously provided by US Foods.

Jaalynn Perkins and her new shoes.

A great way to start a Saturday.


Filed under: Events, Knoxville. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Urban League gives kids shoes — and confidence

  1. Savanna Howie, on August 8th, 2017 at 1:40 pm said:

    It truly was a beautiful day! So heartwarming to see our community come together to create such a fantastic event.

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on August 8th, 2017 at 1:44 pm said:

    Savanna: Thanks so much for coming and helping with the media. You did a fantastic job.

  3. Phyllis Nichols, on August 8th, 2017 at 3:09 pm said:

    Thanks Cynthia for capturing the faces of both the kids and the committed volunteers! There is nothing that brings me more joy than seeing the faces of the kids.

  4. Cynthia Moxley, on August 8th, 2017 at 3:12 pm said:

    Phyllis: As you know, I’m not the biggest fan of children! But I have to admit they were pretty cute when they got their shoes. Great job, as usual, to your whole staff and the wonderful, dedicated board you have assembled.

  5. Pam Rhoades, on August 9th, 2017 at 8:43 am said:

    I recognized and said ‘hello’ to a few of the children we know from Moxley Carmichael’s work with Gerdau at Lonsdale Elementary. They were truly elated to be receiving new things for school. Great job Phyllis and team!

  6. John McCulley, on August 9th, 2017 at 8:51 am said:

    Bravo on a phenomenal event for the kiddos!

  7. Deborah Sams, on August 11th, 2017 at 8:59 pm said:

    What a wonderful day! These kids will start their school year off right. Bless these people for this kindness.

Leave a Reply