Kicks for a Cause Students take a walk in others’ shoes

By Jules Norwood, ECU News Services | Feb. 10, 2017

East Carolina University’s campus was filled with messages of positivity on Thursday, Feb. 9 as the SHOES project took over the Mall, campus buildings and buses.

After receiving state, regional and national awards for last year’s inaugural event, SHOES — Students Honoring Others’ Everyday Struggles/Stories — returned this year to help ECU students who may be feeling isolated or dealing with challenging times.

The event included hundreds of pairs of shoes attached to personal stories, Post-It Notes with uplifting messages, a Worthy Wall, Soks the giant purple bear and free hot cocoa and cookies.

Each pair of shoes was attached to a story of someone struggling with a family situation, medical condition, mental health issue or other obstacles, which were collected from ECU and Hope Middle School students.

Students also wrote down the reasons they are worthy of being loved on the So Worth Living student organization’s giant chalkboard wall. A resource table and an on-site counselor were available for anyone looking for help.

One out of every four college students suffers from some form of mental illness, including depression.

Treatment for depression is very effective, but less than 25 percent of people with depression receive adequate care.

“If we help even one person, it’s all worth it.”

– Waz Miller, director of residence life

The SHOES project was honored as program of the year by both the regional and national associations of college and university residence halls.

It will be shared with other colleges and universities in the hope of replicating the program on other campuses.

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