Grand Prairie—The 1956 Elvis Presley classic tune so eloquently says, “You can do anything, but stay off of my blue suede shoes.” The Grand Prairie Police Department did not hand out blue suede shoes, but it did give out over 300 pairs of new shoes to students at Hobbs Williams Elementary during its Blue Shoes Programon Friday, Nov. 18.
The event, sponsored by online retailing giant Amazon, which donated all the shoes,was the second Blue Shoes Program the department has done in several weeks. Throughout the day, classes of children walked into the school’s gymnasium, where officers, teachers and other volunteers were waiting.
Upon entering the gym, the kids were cheered and received high-fives. Students received a new pair of shoes which were placed on their feet by a Grand Prairie officer, who made sure each child not only liked their new footwear but also that the shoes fit properly.
After receiving their new footwear, some children became so excited they either jumped for joy or ran up and down the gym floor, testing their new shoes.
Students then played a friendly game of tug of war against Chief Daniel Scesney.
“I think it’s great to see the kids so excited when you put the shoes on,” Mesias Trejo, principal of Hobbs Williams Elementary, said. “The smiles; it gets you teary to see how much fun they’re having and just building that relationship with the police department and the students.
“With how they’re playing tug-of-war with the kids, I think that’s going to make a big impact. I think this is one of those big experiences as kids they’re going to remember. It’s one of them that’s going to stick with them. As principal, it makes me very happy we were able to partner with everybody to make this happen.”
Grand Prairie Police Department does a wide range of events to benefit the community, but this newest endeavor tugs at the heart of Chief Scesney.
“Unfortunately, some of these children have never received a new pair of shoes,” Scesney said. “For us to be able to experience that first-time joy with them, that counts. That’s meaningful to us. We’re proud to bring a little bit of joy into these kids’ lives and the lives of our officers as well.”
Scesney and his officers not only consider the countless smiles they saw on the faces of these children after receiving their new footwear to be priceless, but he also sees other more long-term benefits to the students.
“We recognized some of these kids are wearing shoes that were passed down from older siblings, sometimes passed down twice from two older siblings,” Scesney said.“Giving them an opportunity to have a sense of pride where they’re able to focus on their studies; they’re not having to worry about holes in the soles of their feet.It’s needed, and it’s something that gives our officers the chance to recharge our batteries, see a lot of small smiles and warm their hearts.
“We are part of the community. Our officers work here.We live here. We see our residents in the supermarket.Our kids go to school together. Helping our residents succeed is a byproduct of what we’re about. It’s also quite honestly part of our fabric at the police department. It really makes a difference for us in building community trust and that translates into also quite frankly, a lower crime rate.”