Imagine going a day without shoes.

Imagine going a day without shoes.

Emily Smith, a Carthage Middle School sixth grader, wanted to share a message of awareness with her school. Joining an effort by TOMs shoe brand, Emily started her own “One Day Without Shoes” at her school. The idea is to give others an idea of what it's like, even for just a moment, for those in third world countries or those in need in the local community. Emily said even though it was late notice, her school leaders were pleased to help.

“I got the idea from TOMs, and thought it would be cool if our school let us do that too,” she said. “I care because there's people who deal with this everyday. I stepped on a nail once with shoes on, and if I didn't have them, it could have gotten infected and that would have made me sick … And some people deal with that everyday. Could you imagine in the winter?”

“Or on hot sand?” added classmate Brandon Bullock, who thought the effort was an excellent idea and donated 15 pairs of shoes from his family.

Brandon heard of the idea at school, went home, and went digging through closets.

“I piled them all up in a chair and my dad said they were OK to donate,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to think of others.”

On Tuesday, April 16, the CMS went without shoes from 1:30-2:30 p.m. As part of the effort, Emily also started collecting shoes for local clothing pantries. The community is invited to join the effort that will conclude Friday, April 26.

“I was telling some students about the day without shoes and they were like, 'what if my feet get dirty? Or what if I step on a rock?'” Emily said, “and I told them, 'that's the point. The point is to step on the rock and realize what it's like for those who don't have shoes.”

Emily is an active member in the CMS Fellowship of Christian Students. She said her dear friends: Annie Collier, Morgan Brown and Destiny Wells, helped her a lot. Emily said she hopes they helped make the middle school a better place.

“We're not your ordinary public school,” she said. “We're trying to make a difference.”

What was the reaction from the school leaders?

“I'm very, very proud,” said CMS counselor Travis Bolin. “So many kids here want to help others. It's efforts like this that say a lot about their giving hearts.”