California Educator

May 2011

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Sandals for the Soul connects students with Haiti left: Escondido High School French class students of Escondido Second- ary Teachers Association member Jan- ice Mulder pose with the 400 pairs of schools they collected for distribution to earthquake survivors in Haiti. mile in the shoes of Haitians last semester, inspired by Student CTA member and student teach- er Courtney Woods-Ziani and Escondido Secondary Teachers Association member and master teacher Janice Mulder. Hundreds of Haitians are A now literally walking in new shoes collected and donated by the California students in re- sponse to the devastating earth- quake that struck the Caribbean island last year. “One of my goals as an aspiring French teacher was to develop a global outreach project,” says Woods-Ziani, CTA’s student li- aison to the of hundreds of Haitian people by providing them the footwear nec- essary to prevent disease, improve their quality of life, enhance hy- giene, advance opportunities for migration and enable children to go to school,” says Woods-Ziani. “All while providing them oppor- tunities to better understand Hai- group of Escondido High School French class stu- dents figuratively walked a California Commission on Teach- er Credentialing and now a candi- date for a master’s in French at SDSU. “It was my hope to engage students in a social justice project while also teaching the language and culture of a Francophone country.” While reading a magazine ar- ticle about the positive impact just a pair of shoes can have on a per- son living in a developing country, Woods-Ziani was inspired to cre- ate “Sandals for the Soul,” a project in which she and her high school students collected footwear for persons living in displacement camps in Haiti. “This became the perfect ve- hicle for helping the students make a positive impact in the lives RIGHt: Student CTA member Courtney Woods-Ziani (left) and Escondido Sec- ondary Teachers Association member Janice Mulder collaborated to help stu- dents in Haiti. ti’s language and culture.” After doubling their original goal of collecting 200 pairs of shoes, Woods-Ziani and her stu- dents were making plans to ship the 400 pairs of footwear to Haiti. Then a volunteer church group that was already planning to take supplies to the island offered to transport the shoes for them. “We were delighted to have sur- passed our goal by collecting such a large number of shoes,” says Woods-Ziani, “but even more excited by being able to de- liver them free of charge, en- abling us to purchase additional shoes for a future delivery.” Upon their arrival in Haiti, the American volunteers delivered the shoes to residents of a refugee camp, Camp Abraham. They had enough to give every man, woman and child in the facility at least one new pair. “When we saw photos of our shoes being distributed, we were so gratified to see the fruits of our efforts,” says Woods-Ziani. “The students were amazed at how such a seemingly small gesture could make such a huge impact in the lives of these Haitian people. For me personally, it certainly rein- forced the ‘Power of One,’ the idea that even a single person can achieve something worthwhile.” Although Woods-Ziani has finished her student teaching in Escondido, master teacher Janice Mulder and the EHS French stu- dents were so inspired by the project that it is continuing and has expanded to include dona- tions from school clubs, sports teams and extracurricular groups. In addition, Woods-Ziani has set up a Facebook page, “San- dals for the Soul — Helping Hai- ti,” where people interested in participating can learn how. BILL GUY 28 California Educator | MAY 2011

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