Story by Noelle Blumel
‘Tis the season of giving, and the Arizona Cardinals are doing their part.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden visited Adams Elementary School earlier this month and donated $2,500 towards the school’s shoe fund. The shoe fund was put into place at Adams to help students in need who come to school with shoes that have holes, missing laces, or do not properly fit by providing them with a replacement pair. “It’s real important to me because I come from a background where my mom was able to make sure I had shoes and stuff like that,” Golden said. “So anytime I see kids that need something simple as a pair of shoes, which was simple to me growing up…it just makes me want to do whatever I can do to make sure those kids are able to have tennis shoes that they can put on.”
Cardinals community relations and alumni programs representative Adam Richman said he and Golden visited the school last year, when Golden first noticed a child wearing mismatched shoes.“It just hit him right in the heart and he was like ‘I want to do something for them,’” Richman said. “So, that’s what he came up with, Shoes for Kids, and he made a donation. The Cardinals matched it, and here we are. ”In addition to the donation, Golden also participated in a series of activities with the kids which included a dance competition, throwing contest, merchandise giveaway, and more.“It takes a village, it takes a community,” principal of Adams Elementary Stephanie Montez said. “And when we see the Cardinals organization is willing to come out here and have fun with our kids and support the things that we’re doing, I think it just helps us and our kids can look up to them.”
Alex Kilanowski, a physical education teacher at Adams, was overcome with emotion, saying that the impact of this gesture on the kids and the smiles on their faces, especially considering the school’s low socioeconomic status, is priceless. “A lot of times all they hear is all negative all the time and it’s nice to see somebody being positive and giving them a high five,” he said. “They don’t get to see an athlete everyday and just to see them so happy that the Cardinals are coming out is just a dream for them.”
Golden also made time to give a speech to the kids about the importance of discipline and listening to their teachers. Kilanowski said Adams’ mission is to promote higher education and a bright future, which starts by listening to the mentors around you that want to help.“It’s such a positive impact on those guys,” he said. “When they hear it from a different person other than their teachers that they see everyday, hopefully this will sink in and then make them a better person down the road.”And that day, Markus Golden became that person for the Adams Elementary students.
“That’s what it’s about,” Golden said. “Just trying to help the kids out and making sure they’re okay.”