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PGA TOUR Wives Association hosts Goodie Two Shoes event during Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

November 2, 2017

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR Staff

LAS VEGAS- Since 2010, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open has been partnering with Goodie Two Shoes, a Las Vegas-based organization designed to make strides at reducing the number of children without shoes.

Founded by Nikki and Tony Berti, Goodie Two Shoes has been operational in the valley since 2003. In 2007, it formally became a foundation. In 2009, the organization introduced its big mobile unit, and in 2010, the Shriners Hospitals for Children jumped on board.

Goodie Two Shoes not only provides needy kids with a new pair of shoes and multiple pairs of new socks, but more importantly, the organization provides them with a choice.

“The purpose of the foundation is about empowering children with choice,” said co-founder Nikki Berti. “It extends beyond just offering them a new pair of shoes. This gives them the opportunity to make a choice of their pair of shoes. It lets them see what a good choice can feel like.”

From September through May, Goodie Two Shoes holds 25 distributions and, when possible, includes other materials, such as books and hygiene items. At each delivery, hundreds of children are each paired with a volunteer to help them with size and comfort.

On Wednesday of this week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, members of the PGA TOUR Wives Association joined in the volunteer efforts.

“We helped outfit 408 local kids with new, properly-fitting shoes,” said PGA TOUR Wives Association board member Alicia Malnati. “It’s such a basic need, but also an important one to those without. Many of these kids don’t get to make many choices in life, so for them to have a chance to come here and pick which shoes to put on their feet really empowers them to feel as though they have a little more control over their lives. They were so happy, dancing around in their new shoes. Finding shoes they liked was such a bright spot in their lives.”

This year, kids from the Park Elementary School were the recipients of the shoes and other necessities. The school is located in Clark County, the fifth largest district in the country.

“We have over 321,000 children in Clark County, from pre-k through 12th grade, and over 63 percent are on the free or reduced school lunch program,” said Berti. “So, we have a great need in this community. Goodie Two Shoes serves 11,000 kids each school year and that is really just the tip of the iceberg.”

“Some of these kids never get to make selections with things as basic as what shoes to wear,” said Adam Sperling, Executive Tournament Director for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. “They can’t even go to school sometimes because the shoes are being worn by a brother or sister. It’s that significant of a situation in their world. They’re wearing shoes that are years and years old, shoes that are too small or worn out. Plus, people look. So, there’s bullying. Just like the Shriners, Goodie Two Shoes is doing a remarkable thing for these kids physically, emotionally and developmentally.”

In a world where many kids have no choice as to what they can eat or even when, for some to be able to look through hundreds of pairs of shoes and pick for themselves the perfect set is a choice that fosters both a sense of hope and self-value.

“Our relationship with Goodie Two Shoes actually extends back to the beginnings of our relationship in professional golf with the PGA TOUR,” Sperling said. “The interesting thing is that what they do is fit kids with fitting and proper footwear and socks. That is so important to the bone development in young people. So, what that could actually mean is that it prevents some kids from becoming patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children. There are opportunities where there are kids that the hospital could actually see because of improper bone and muscle development.”

“This year, we were also able to provide them with new toothbrushes,” Malnati said. “Little things like that can really lead to other great things in their lives. They aren’t worried about shoes that are too big or too small. They leave in a brand new pair of shoes that they can go home in.”

There’s an old reminder about waking a mile in a man’s shoes. But, the more glaring and resonating impact would undoubtedly emerge from walking a mile as a man without shoes.

As Goodie Two Shoes continues to provide for kids in need, they’re offering more than shoes. They’re granting a rare choice for these kids. Those choices can serve as symbols of hope and empowerment. And, the result of that is a bright spot towards a more fulfilled life many kids can then, for the first time, walk with confidence towards.  

“Goodie Two Shoes is such an amazing organization,” said Malnati. “As a part of the PGA TOUR Wives Association, I really hope we can continue to partner with them. What they do makes a difference in the lives of kids that many of us can never even imagine.”

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