Take a Walk in These Shoes

Lora Eureka   -  

On Tuesday, April 25, participants in the “Take a Walk in These Shoes” program were invited to learn about challenges faced by students and families in North Hill, Akron.

Derry Wimer led the group in an interactive exercise that increased awareness of “assets” that many of us enjoyed while growing up—like safe housing, a safe neighborhood, food security, our own beds—which many of the students and parents in North Hill do not have.

In a second illustration, Derry used reams of paper, each representing a specific challenge like an incarcerated parent, drug use in the home, homelessness, food insecurity, etc.—to demonstrate the enormous burden students carry from a very young age. As a community and as a church, we can help reduce this burden.

Following these activities, guidance counselors from Findley Community Learning Center and North High School shared their personal stories of helping students navigate specific challenges—and how the daily challenges faced by students creates a heavy lift for teachers and other school staff.

A capacity audience of over 50 people participated in this program of First Serve, sponsored by our Outreach Board.

Click here to inventory assets you had available to you as a child.


Facilitator Derry Wimer illustrates the additional burdens some students carry with them to school…like drug use in their home.


Derry illustrates the weight of the extra burdens some children carry by loading volunteer, Allen, with reams of paper, each ream representing a specific burden such as: homelessness; food insecurity; violence in the home, etc.






Ready, set, GO! Volunteers Allen and Lillian represent two children starting Kindergarten. One child–Lillian–has access to many assets: the load she carries into school is light. The other child, Allen, does not have access to many assets, and carries a heavy burden with him to school. In a school setting, children with fewer assets quickly fall behind those who have access to many assets.








Guidance Counselors from Findley Community Learning Center and North High School share their personal experiences with students.