By Sharon McGowan, Neigborhood News Service
There is a happy ending for more than 1,000 pairs of children’s shoes that hung in the rotunda at City Hall for the past two months to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect.
The shoes, collected and displayed by “parent ambassadors” at the Next Door Foundation, are being donated to the Child Protection Center at Children’s Hospital.
The “shoe transfer” came about after Milwaukee Police Department officer Carla Lehmann of the Sensitive Crimes Division happened to be at City Hall for a separate event, according to Sara Bauer, parent ambassador supervisor at Next Door Foundation. When Lehmann saw the donated shoes, she realized that they could be put to good use at the Child Protection Center, where she interviews victims.
Next Door Foundation, 2545 N. 29th St., is an education center in Metcalfe Park that works to support Milwaukee children and families.
The parent ambassadors all have been affected by child abuse in some way.
Milwaukee County reported 1,068 substantiated claims of child abuse or neglect in 2011.
“This was such a nice outcome to the project,” said Bauer. “We were probably going to donate the shoes to be recycled, but being actually able to give them to children is really exciting.”