Springfield, Ohio – When Wittenberg University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Sarah Jurewicz walks into Pam Evans Smith Arena for a key North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) game against Kenyon at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, she will be wearing a favorite pair of shoes. Just before tip-off, however, Jurewicz will remove them in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of millions of children around the world. The event is called “Barefoot for Bare Feet.”
Jurewicz did her first “Barefoot for Bare Feet” game in February 2012 and enjoyed great success, raising more than $1,000 to provide as many as 120 pairs of shoes to orphaned children in the village communities of Ramabanta and Roma in the African kingdom of Lesotho. In 2014, Jurewicz has set a goal of raising $1,000 to provide again not only shoes to children in Lesotho, but also to children in Wittenberg’s hometown of Springfield. It is estimated that as many as 300 million people are without shoes each day, and as a result as many as 1 million people die each year due to foot-borne illnesses.
“Athletics provides such a visible vehicle through which we can raise awareness and advocate for important causes,” said Jurewicz, a member of the Board of Directors of BLOOM Africa, a non-profit organization founded by her close friend, Andrew Steele, Wittenberg class of 2010, to provide resources to orphaned children in the African kingdom of Lesotho.
“To know that millions of children go without shoes on a daily basis is unfortunate, but what is more unfortunate is if we have the power to make a simple gesture to help put shoes on those children’s feet but may not do anything about it. I would like to share the opportunity with people to give the gift of hope by providing shoes to those that need them.”
Jurewicz is planning to split the money evenly between BLOOM Africa and Project Woman, a non-profit organization in Springfield that is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by providing services and programs to protect, educate and empower. The women’s basketball team has adopted Project Woman as a local philanthropy.
“After spending time with kids in Lesotho, many of whom don’t have shoes, I understand the real need to provide hope for them by simply providing them with shoes,” Jurewicz added. “And, in addition, in working with Project Woman I have come to understand the many children impacted by circumstances out of their control that may prevent them from having basic life needs, and shoes are one of those things some of those kids need.”
To make contributions, log on to: http://www.gofundme.com/6answ0.
Written By: Ryan Maurer