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Student raises awareness by going shoeless for day

On April 5, several Unicoi County High School students, along with thousands of people across the U.S., participated in TOMS One Day Without Shoes program, designed to raise awareness about people across the world who have no shoes.
According to the TOMS website, the company pledged to donate one pair of shoes to children around the world that do not have shoes for every one person that went a day without shoes. The site went on to explain that in many developing countries, children must walk barefoot for miles to attend school, obtain clean water and get medical help.
Austin Shelton, a Senior at UCHS, led the local event. Shelton said he decided to get involved in the cause when he received an email from the company, following the purchase of his first pair of TOMS shoes.
“Last year I bought my first pair of TOMS,” Shelton said. “When I did, I signed up to receive emails from them. Through those emails I found out about the ‘One for One Program.’ “
As a part of the One for One Program, TOMS donates one pair of shoes to children who are less fortunate for each pair of TOMS shoes purchased by customers.
“In an email I saw the photo of the child that received a free pair of shoes from my purchase, and that is why I wanted to get involved with the one for one program,” Shelton said. 
While shoes are a part of everyday attire, Shelton wore nothing on his feet on April 5.
“There were a lot of people at school that didn’t wear shoes,” Shelton said. “Also, a lot of teachers were interested about why I chose not to wear shoes.”  
Shelton will be attending the University of Tennessee this fall, where he plans of getting the UT campus to be shoeless for one day to raise awareness. For more information about TOMS, the One Day Without Shoes Program and the One for One Program, please visit