Started in Union County KY in 2009, It has since expanded into Ballard, Boyle/Danville, Butler, Caldwell, Crittenden, Graves/Mayfield, Henderson, Hopkins Co./Dawson Springs, Lincoln, Livingston, Lyon, McCracken Co./Reidland , Muhlenberg, Ohio, Todd, Trigg, Webster and two Counties in Illinois Gallatin and Saline. Also, In 2022 Happy Feet has started a new location in Posey County, IN
Happy Feet Equals Learning Feet is a program developed to help remove one of the stumbling blocks to optimum school performance. We hope to make students a "HAPPY" student thus becoming a better" LEARNER".
We are working to provide a new pair of shoes to every student identified in need by the Family Resource Youth Service Center Coordinators at each of the schools. We are a nonprofit group that is funded by donations and fundraisers.
You may donate by mail to Happy Feet Equals Learning Feet Inc. Happy Feet c/o Shirley Hendrix PO Box 296 Clay, KY 42404 and on the memo of your check, please list which location you would like to support.
My name is Jerry Baird, and I am a retired coal miner from Union County. I would like to introduce you to a program named "Happy Feet Equals Learning Feet.”. Happy Feet was created in 2009 in Union County and has grown rapidly. After providing for over 450 kids in the first year and over 700 the second year, it has grown to 7,223 students in 2023.
We are now active in 21 locations. We consult with school administration and Family Resource Directors to determine the need for a particular area. After we decide to establish a program, the next step is to find a group of volunteers to help with the fundraising. Donations are the main source of funds, though some locations mix in yard sales and bake sales, and other fundraisers. Grant writing has recently become available. A separate bank account is maintained for each county to insure a separation of the funds.
Health of a child is a top priory of the program. Another goal of this program is to remove a stumbling block to optimum school performance. Not having basic personal items can distract a child from performing well in school. A new pair of shoes can help build self-esteem. A new pair of shoes may stop bullying. We attempt to improve a child's perspective about attending school by providing them with a quality pair of athletic shoes.. A "Happy Student" becomes a "Better Learner" The students are chosen with input from the FRSCY Coordinators, Principals, Teachers and Guidance Counselors at their respective schools. By sharing of information with other organizations we attempt to hold duplication of services to a minimum. Shoes are delivered at various time of the year as determined by the local committees. Start of school and Christmas are main delivery times, funding is also maintained to provide for emergency situations. A Face Book page has been created to provide information from the counties and take donations online
In closing you can see I don’t have a magic formula or a super business model to make this work. Finding people with a passion for helping children and willing to work is the key.
Happy Feet Narrative
Happy Feet Equals Learning Feet Inc., ("Happy Feet") was formed to meet a growing need and to remedy the problems associated with it. Happy Feet 's organizers saw that children were increasingly attending school with worn tattered footwear that didn't sufficiently protect their feet from the weather, didn't fit properly, and didn't provide enough structural support for the activities in which the children participated. A sad byproduct of this footwear deficiency has been distracted, uncomfortable children with poor self esteem.
Happy Feet directs its efforts and funds toward lifting these children by providing them a new pair of shoes. In the long term, Happy Feet hopes to address other needs, in addition to footwear, and to help adults as well as children.
Happy Feet is active in eighteen (18) school districts in Northwest Kentucky and now we have (2) new in Southern Illinois and one (1) in Southern Indiana. At this time each area served by Happy Feet has a group of volunteers, committee members who organize in fund raising activities.
Each school district served by Happy Feet is INDEPENDENT from the others, and the funds raised from each district remain in that area to serve the local student needs. Schools within each district identify the students in need and work with Happy Feet to coordinate the delivery of the footwear to them.
Happy Feet provide over 7,200 children with new footwear in 2023. As Happy Feet's resources grow, we plan to expand into new areas, to serve new participants, and to meet the needs of even more people.
• Founded in 2009 in Union County
• Founder, Jerry Baird. Union County retired coal miner • Goal is to remove the stumbling block to students’ school success
• New shoes build self-esteem
• New shoes reduce bullying and teasing
• Incorporated in 2012
• IRS Non-profit status 501c3
Responsibilities of Local Volunteer Committees
• Plan events and fundraising • Write grants • Purchase shoes for K-12 or PK-12 • Collaborate with schools & FRYSC
• Keep Corporate up-to-date
Happy Feet Accounting System
• Separate accounts for each location
• Each location retains all their funds
Happy Feet is actively promoted in local communities and on-line. To learn more, visit our website or Facebook pages or contact a local committee member.
To provide shoes to children in need so they can better focus their efforts on learning.
Check out this great video
We need your help to expand to more areas. Why? Because we want the best for your children, too.