A member of the Sertoma Club of Downtown Fort Worth has expanded a fund raising flag display to neighbors on Barkridge Trail. The program was started in the Tanglewood neighborhood by the Sertoma Club. Over the course of seven months from May thru November, subscribers receive full size American Flags in their front yard on five major holidays: Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and the upcoming Veterans Day.
The funds raised by the club from the flag program are used to provide shoes for needy students at six elementary schools on Fort Worth’s near south side. The “Shoes for Kids” program works through the Fort Worth ISD’s Adopt-A-School program. Selected school personnel (usually counselors or nurses) at each school identify needy students and offer them a Sertoma voucher for a new pair of shoes from Payless Shoe Stores. They follow safeguards to maintain the integrity of the use of the vouchers. Students must be qualified for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program and receive tennis shoes of value up to $20.
Many students come to school in ill-fitting or outworn shoes. Mike McGee, Sertoma Club member, heard of one family whose children were not attending school because the older brother, who was responsible for escorting his younger siblings to school, had no shoes to wear. As a result, none of the children could attend. McGee was moved by the story and determined to do something about situations like that. McGee’s vision is that other service organizations will follow the lead to meet needs for shoes at all Fort Worth ISD elementary schools.
This year the club has expanded their programs for the six schools and are including a Safe Ears program for 3rd graders including a hand out of ear plugs to each student. For 5th graders, the Sertomans present a National Heritage program including a copy of the Declaration of Independence for each 5th grader. The club members have been called upon to assist with career days and judging science fairs at the schools.
Sertoma is an international service organization. The primary mission is assisting the more than 50 million people with speech, hearing, and language disorders. Sertoma also sponsors community projects to promote freedom and democracy, to assist youth, and to benefit a variety of other local community needs, as identified by the individual clubs.
“Shoes for Kids” is just one of the projects of Sertoma in Fort Worth. Other Sertoma community service projects include providing Christmas gifts to the approximately 50 deaf and deaf blind residents of the Westchester Plaza Assisted Living Center, assistive devices for persons with speech or hearing difficulties, scholarships, and assistance to other worthy needs in the community.
The Sertoma Club raises funds for the shoe project and other services primarily from its flag display program in the Fort Worth’s neighborhoods. Club members partnering with Boy Scout Troop 17, place large flags in the front yards of subscribers to the service on five patriotic holidays each year. The club also seeks donations and grants to support its service activities.
For more information, go to www.sertomafortworth.org