Chandler teen gets shoes for a whole school SanTan Sun News

Chandler teen gets shoes for a whole school

March 25th, 2021 Editorial Staff
Chandler teen gets shoes for a whole school
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SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Sam Bregman did it.

The 16-year-old Chandler resident raised enough funds to purchase a pair of shoes for every student enrolled at Galveston Elementary School.

The Hamilton High junior began collecting donations for his service project in October and spent the following months raising up to $15,000.   

On March 10, Sam delivered more than 450 boxes of tennis shoes and 2,000 pairs of socks to Galveston pupils. Kids spent the entire morning lining up on the school’s playground to await their turn picking out a new pair of sneakers.   

“I’m super excited,” Sam said, “and I would love to keep the momentum going and try to help a second school.”

Sam included a personal note in each shoebox, telling each student he hopes they enjoy the gift and wishing them happiness.

Sam said he is already raising funds to buy shoes for another Chandler school and hopes to continue his philanthropy as long as possible.

He said he was inspired to launch the project after finding out that many of Galveston’s students walk to school and some can’t afford new shoes.

Galveston is one of Chandler Unified School District’s Title I schools – meaning it qualifies for federal aid due to a high prevalence of students coming from low-income families.

To help get the job done, Sam partnered with Shoes That Fit, a national nonprofit that’s provided two million pairs of shoes to American children, to ensure every Galveston student was fitted with shoes specific to their size and supplied with several pairs of socks.

According to data collected by Shoes That Fit, new shoes have been found to raise a child’s self-esteem by 87 percent and their physical activity by 70 percent.

Sam said a fresh pair of sneakers can have a powerful impact on how a young person feels about themselves and could change how they behave in school.

“When you put those sneakers on for the first time, you stand up tall (and) you feel very confident,” he said when he started the project. “I think it will improve physical activity, attendance, and behavior.”

Sam also said he sincerely appreciates the many donors who contributed money to help the teenager accomplish his goal. And many of them have expressed their gratitude to him for bringing some positivity to the Chandler community.

“Thank you for reminding us that the world is a much better place when we serve others and not ourselves,” one donor wrote.

As Sam worked to raise funds this last year, the teenager was simultaneously suffering from a medical ailment that caused him to experience bouts of severe dizziness.

He said he no longer takes his health for granted and his recent medical problems have motivated him to be more generous with his time.

“I want to make good things happen and give back to other people,” Sam added.

Monetary donations can still be submitted online by visiting Sam’s page on connect.clickandpledge.com.

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