March 2, 2021 – Community Champion Award Presented

Erin Dickerson’s Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Christopher Morley once said, “If we discovered we only had five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them.”  Lord, help us not to wait until our last five minutes, but instead to spend some amount of time each and every day to tell those around us (family, friends, or strangers) something positive and affirming.  Only You know how much of a difference it may make.

Amen.

Shoes for the Shoeless Needs New Warehouse Space

One of the most important children’s charities in our community, Shoes for the Shoeless, is in desperate need of 1200-1500 square feet of warehouse space that is preferably climate-controlled to store their shoes and socks for children. They additionally need a place to park their two trucks, ideally just outside the warehouse. The space they have been using will soon not be available.

If you know of any space, please let Kris Horlacher and her organization know.

WDTN has a video and article about their need for a new location.

Committee Meetings

  • 3/17/2021, 6 PM, Tom Frazier Tee Off for Youth Golf 2021, Zoom hosted by Mike Bevis. Meetings in 2021 will be on Wednesdays on 1/13, 2/17, 3/17, 4/14, 5/12, 6/16, 7/7. Additional volunteers are always welcome. The golf outing will be held on 7/12/2021.
  • 3/16/2021, 6 PM, Monthly Board of Directors Meeting, Zoom hosted by President Debe Dockins

Community Events

Greg Griffin announced that the Easter Egg Drive through will be held on April 3rd, 2021.

Visual Arts Contest chairs Deb Saunders and Jane Fiehrer have sent out the invitation to art teachers at local schools so they can invite their students to participate.

Beth Duncan, chair of Centerville’s Got Talent, said she needs more volunteers to help with this committee. The contest will be for kids ages 4-19 that live or go to school in Centerville or Washington Township and will be participating in the event via videos they create of their talent.

Happy Birthday, Tim Clemmer

Today was Tim Clemmer’s Birthday! Bob Burkman led our choir in singing Happy Birthday to the Birthday Boy. Tim approved of our rendition. He was wearing a birthday hat before, during and after the celebration song! Have a great year Tim!

Our guest of honor today, Kris Horlacher, mentioned she has not been on a Zoom call where anyone sang, and she thought it was cool.

Community Champion Award, Kris Horlacher

Mike Bevis and Judy DeMarco, the co-chairs of the Community Champion Award Committee, presented the 2021 winner, Kris Horlacher. Kris is the Executive Director of the Dayton based non-profit Shoes for the Shoeless (S4TS) that she founded in 2010. Over 125,000 children have been served. They are a mobile shoe store with 2 trucks. Pre-COVID they used 500 volunteers per month.

Their mission is, “To provide new, properly fitting gym shoes and socks to local children in need.”

Their vision is, “Relentlessly pursue our mission so that no child endures the unnecessary physical and emotional distress that results from wearing socks/shoes that are grossly inadequate. We will strive to become a valued organization in our community, known for our devoted and caring volunteers along with our faith-in-action.”

A trauma nurse by trade, she had a passion to help children who did not have shoes and socks of their own.  She left her job as a nurse and started “Shoes for the Shoeless” in 2010.  Kris also provides correct fitting shoes and socks to area children in desperate need, delivering thousands of shoes each year.

Kris spent time with children in all sorts of circumstances but one day she looked at the feet of one of the kids she had been working with for a few months and suddenly realized his shoes were too small for his feet.

She quickly set out and discovered that due to the lack of money, ignorance or neglect, this was a huge problem for many children living in poverty.  She told a story of a boy who walked with a limp but insisted nothing was wrong.  When his feet were exposed, they were raw on the sides and his toes were growing on top of each other from wearing shoes too small all his life.  At that time, he was wearing a hand me down pair of size 12’s when he needed a size 15.

In Montgomery County, 40% of children live in poverty.  Most of them are in desperate need of shoes and socks.  Shoes for the Shoeless focuses mainly on helping local kids right here in our area.  Mad River, Huber Heights, Dayton and many more school systems in the area benefit from this program.  Kris is responsible for establishing an effective system to help children eliminate one of poverty’s most visible stigmas.

View videos about S4TS and their COVID experience here.

Kris Horlacher Remarks

Kris said, “Thank you for the award. It is great to hear about others who care about the need for shoes for children. I’m a nurse, but I started Shoes for the Shoeless as a Mom.  The biggest unmet need for children of poverty is correct fitting shoes and socks.”

When she started Shoes for the Shoeless (S4TS) she did a lot of explaining to people why the need exists. It is an unknown need. The few that understood it knew it is a big problem that no one was trying to solve. She is glad she did not know at the beginning how hard it was going to be or it would have seemed too difficult to get started.

Before starting S4TS she researched for resources to help with this issue and was surprised she could not find any existing resources. Nobody did what S4TS does in the U.S. before them. Now many organizations contact S4TS to learn how to start their own organization in their region.

Pre-COVID she was reaching 2000 kids per month and used 500 volunteers per month. They now use fewer volunteers and are reaching fewer kids, but they are working on getting back to normal levels of service. One method they use during COVID is to prescreen for need and have the children measured before arriving at a school. This is working for schools where there are 60-70 kids in need. However, in Springfield and Middletown, it is more challenging where over 400 students in a school have a need for new shoes.

They have also started setting up drive through services at schools where families have an appointment. This has also been successful. As many as 600 children have been served at a time. The downside to the drive through service is that many families do not have transportation at all, or it may not be available during the service times.

Children’s Hospital asked S4TS if there is a way to help get shoes for their needy patients. The solution S4TS created was to have a fully stocked shoe closet at Children’s. There are now 12 shoe closets in the community. Some patients are in the hospital so long that their feet grow and their shoes no longer fit. This is a huge expense for many families who are already struggling with their child’s treatments.

Food for the People

Shoes for the Shoeless pivoted last year to “Food for the People”.

Kris Horlacher knew last year that COVID was going to shut down schools. For many children, their only source for food is school. She told a school, if you give me 50 of your poorest children then she would figure out how to feed them. She did not know how she was going to pull this off, but she knew that the shoe distribution would be difficult. Within a few days they had a plan and then the COVID shutdown occurred. Not only were school shutdowns an issue, but the COVID shutdown caused all kinds of food distribution networks to shut down overnight because of the lack of volunteers who were staying home to keep safe. Beyond kids, this affects the poor as well as senior citizens. Kris said, “Remember at the very beginning of the lockdown that the message was if you go outside you are going to die. Or you were going to kill a family member if you bring the disease back to your home.”

Food banks and St Vincent de Paul called her to find if S4TS could help.

S4TS ended up helping far more than 50 families. From March 2020 to June 2020 they delivered 110,000 meals helping 3000 families. Check out this video, Food 4 the People Donates 6,800 boxes of Food.

Thank You Kris Horlacher

Thank you Kris Horlacher and your organization. You are very deserving of the Centerville Noon Optimist 2021 Community Champion Award. We have all been enlightened to the issues of shoes for the youth of our communities.

Background on the Optimist Community Champion Award

The “Optimist Community Champion Award” was created to help local citizens in the Dayton area recognize people within our community who play a major role in helping children and their families; they are our “UNSUNG HEROES.”

A person or persons is chosen who have made a difference either in the course of their jobs or in their lives or have had an extraordinary impact on children and their families.  These citizens often can be a public official, volunteer, concerned citizen, health or human service worker, business leader, teacher, coach and others.

Previous Recipients of the Optimist Community Champion Award

  • Lisa Tucker (Bill’s Donuts), the most generous person who is involved with this community and contributes to just about everything including our Build a Bear Events that we do every year at Dayton Children’s and sponsors many of our fundraising events
  • Randy Eldridge – former manager of Kroger’s who, over 30 years, donated to many of our fundraising events
  • Dr. Marc Colclasure, owner of Synergy Family Therapy Specialists, who works with special needs children and their families
  • Karen Chatman, retired Special Education Teacher from Centerville City Schools
  • Dean and Mindy Heyne, fostered more than 35 special needs children and adopted 5 special needs children themselves
  • Greg & Tiffany Moehl, who started the First Dawn Food Pantry in Centerville
  • Tonya Johns, started “Operation Prom Dress”
  • Janie Rice, 35 year Veteran nurse at Dayton Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Dept. making sure parents and families received the highest quality of care and preparing and educating the patient and family for upcoming bone marrow transplants and giving them the emotional support through the process

New Member Readings and Inductions

None this week.

Welcome Guests!

Guest NameGuest of
Kris HorlacherToday’s Speaker
Jonathan HaugeSpeaker’s Guest

Happy Bucks

No time for Happy Bucks this week.

Membership Anniversaries

No membership anniversaries this week.

Birthdays

MemberBirthday
Rachel GoetzMarch 2
Tim ClemmerMarch 2
Tim StullMarch 2
Greg FayMarch 3
Ryan FayMarch 4
Ralph YoungMarch 4

CNO Donations – 2013 through January 2021

Click here to see a summary of donations the club has made since 2013

Thank You Notes Received

Click here to see the Thank You Notes our Club received this week.

Sergeants at Arms

No Sergeants this week.

Zoom Meeting This Week

We had another meeting using Zoom. We will continue our weekly meetings via computer, cell phone or tablet for at least the next several weeks. Please join us and keep inviting guests.

Who can Attend Zoom Meetings?

Any member of any type of Centerville Noon Optimist can attend Zoom meetings. CNO 2.0, St Leonard’s and CNO full members or CNO monthly members can ALL attend.

Guests are also welcome. Please invite guests and introduce them if you like. Just share the Zoom link with them for that week.

COVID-19 UPDATE

In keeping with social distancing requirements – our CNO Meetings have transitioned temporarily to a online format using ZOOM.

Club Member Joe Madden was inspired to rewrite The Optimist Creed – so we give you now – The Corona Creed -with apologies to Christian D. Larson, Author of The Optimist Creed.

Links to Recorded Meeting and PowerPoint

An unfortunate technical difficulty resulted in the loss of this week’s meeting recording.

A Copy of this Week’s Meeting PowerPoint Slide Deck is here