Dialika Sall ’12 loads dozens of shoe boxes into the trunk of a friend’s car for the short trip from campus to Foothill Boulevard. As an intern at Shoes That Fit, collecting donations from students at The Claremont Colleges is just one of her responsibilities. She has become a key part of the nonprofit organization, which relies almost solely on volunteers.
A Million Pairs of Shoes
Founded in Claremont as a one-person, one-school operation in 1992, Shoes That Fit now works with grassroots groups in 35 states to provide new shoes and other clothing to children in 1,200 schools. Program Manager Lee Kane estimates that by the time Shoes That Fit celebrates its 20th anniversary, it will have distributed one million pairs of shoes. Dialika is the fifth student from the Pomona College Internship Program to work at the compact headquarters in north Claremont.
“Because Shoes That Fit is almost entirely run by volunteers, it’s extremely important for us to be able to have interns. We try to work with each one’s skills and interests,” says Michelle Siegel, director of development. “Dialika was interested in learning how to research and write grants, which she caught on to right away.”
Simple and Important
“Donating a pair of shoes to a child is such a simple concept,” says Dialika, who also works as a volunteer coordinator for the Draper Center for Community Partnerships. “But when you read the letters that the children send us, you realize how important it is to have a pair of comfortable shoes and to fit in with your peers. I feel very privileged to be at Pomona, which is one of the reasons I want to apply what I learn here to effect change in any way I can.”