About UsOne moment can change a day, one day can change a life, one life can change the world!
The Barefoot Walk is an event that raises money and awareness for people around the world who do not have access to basic needs, like shoes. The Barefoot Walk provides an experience that aims to educate young people about social injustices and empower them to become active local and global citizens in their communities.
Who are we?
We are the London Youth Social Justice Committee, a group of passionate young people that strive to make a difference in our local and global community. The London Youth Social Justice Committee was established in 2013 with members of the South Social Justice Committee, a high school group that originally founded The Barefoot Walk, and other students from various London Ontario high schools. Now, the committee has grown to include members from multiple Ontario cities in high school, university and the adult community. We are a group of passionate individuals working to make a difference in the world through supporting local and international causes. We do what we do because we want to have an impact on the lives of others. We believe that one moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world!
What is The Barefoot Walk?
The Barefoot Walk was created based on a question; they say to understand someone you have to walk a mile in their shoes, but what if they don’t have any? The Barefoot Walk is an event where participants will hear from motivational speakers, visit educational booths and walk barefoot in solidarity with people around the world who do not have access to basic needs, like shoes. This event started at London South Collegiate Institute, a London Ontario high school, and has grown to include thousands of people from London and surrounding areas each year. From 2008 to 2014, The Barefoot Walk has raised over $150 000 for both local and global charities. This money has gone towards building schools, supporting water and alternative income projects, and providing funding to local charities in London Ontario. The Barefoot Walk has also had over 50 Elementary and Secondary schools participate in the event, which has increased the community’s awareness of social injustices in the world.
In 2010, The Barefoot Walk was my one moment that changed the entire direction of my life. Never did I imagine years later I would be the Director of such an incredible initiative. Getting involved with The Barefoot Walk was the best decision I could have ever made. I walk so other young people can find their one moment too.Lucas Goodenough
The committee over the years...
The 2008 Committee
In 2008 The Barefoot Walk was established. A group of high school students from London South Collegiate Institute traveled to attend We Day, an event founded for youth and educators to attend in order to celebrate and kick start a year of local and global change. Arriving back in London from this inspirational event the committee felt strongly about the idea of starting an event where students would walk around barefoot in solidarity for those people around the world that do not have basic goods such as shoes. This even took place one afternoon at London South Collegiate Institute where students participated in a Walk around our school block barefoot. Students were encouraged to bring gently used soccer jerseys in which to donate to a local shelter for those that find difficulty in buying new clothing. The committee held a barbeque after the walk to celebrate the hard work and determination many students showed through their participation in the walk, bringing used clothing and raising money for many individuals around the world. This year sparked a new light in many committee members’ eyes and challenged them to see how far they could carry such a successful event.
2008 Barefoot Walk
The 2009 Committee
The 2009 Barefoot Walk marked a huge milestone and paved a path for the upcoming years of the event. This year was the first year that the Barefoot Walk moved its location from London South Collegiate Institute to London’s central Victoria Park. The seed was finally planted and the planning committee had a large project ahead of them. The goal for this year’s Walk was to involve not only their high school but invite many of the feeder schools that surrounded London South Collegiate Institute. The Barefoot Walk went from a singular high school event for about six-hundred youths to an event which included many elementary students from different schools. This year was a big learning curve for the committee as many of the core members had graduated the previous year and the committee was planning an event that was located at a much larger facility. The 2009 Barefoot Walk certainly marked a major event in the Walks history as the event hoped to remain located at Victoria Park and continually grow to a greater amount of students.
The 2010 Committee
The 2010 Barefoot Walk was certainly an event to remember. As many of you know The Barefoot Walk is a strictly outdoor event which takes place at the beginning of May. The Walk has been very fortunate in the previous years to have weather that cooperates with an outdoor event. We cannot say the same for the 2010 Walk, this year it poured rain for almost the entire event. There are tremendous hours spent on planning every single detail of the Walk and in one second everything may have to be improvised or changed according to the rain. This year was a patience tester for many of the committee working behind the scenes of the event. Although we had unwanted weather conditions The Barefoot Walk continued as planned. Speakers still attended, the Walk around the park still happened and many interactive booths and stations were still set up. The rain was fully embraced by many participants at the walk. Importune break dancing, puddle jumping and sweeping away puddles of water was included in the structured event day. This year’s committee learned that not everything goes according to plan and in situations such as this one a team of people must work diligently to overcome obstacles.
2010 Barefoot Walk
The 2011 Committee
The Barefoot Walk in 2011 was the first year that the committee felt it was appropriate to heighten our focus on community outreach and involvement on the day of the walk. Many core committee members participate in workshops and outreach presentations in order to spread the word of The Barefoot Walk. The time and effort spent on school presentations and connections was shown through the influx in registration at the 2011 Walk. The committee at London South Collegiate Institute began to realize the impact that a small group of high school students can have on a large number of teachers, parents and students in the London area. This year the committee took the event from a small high school and feeder school event to the greater city level increasing the overall success of The Barefoot Walk event.
The 2012 Committee
The 2012 Barefoot Walk marked the year where many senior committee members saw their hopes and dreams for the Walk come true. Six years ago when this event was started one of the most extenuating goals of the committee was to have one of the Kielburger brothers attend and speak at the Walk. In 2012, five years after the event was started their dream came true. Marc Kielburger was able to participate in The Barefoot Walk. This year we also reached a new milestone in Barefoot Walk history. Every year many students from elementary and secondary schools come to the walk. This year thirty different schools were able to attend and participate in The Barefoot walk. This is the largest number of registered students the committee has seen thus far. Many milestones were developed in 2012 and the consistency amongst many areas of the event became permanent.
The 2013 Committee
The 2013 Barefoot Walk was one of the most exciting walks that our committee has put together. This year instead of having approximately 6 months to plan the walk we were reluctantly only able to plan the 2013 Walk in just four short weeks! This year’s committee included not only members of the South’s Social Justice Committee but we also had the involvement of many students from Banting and Lucas Secondary School. This committee allowed for diversity, functionality and city wide initiatives. It also allowed for a larger work ethic from a wide spread committee. The main goal of this year’s walk was to obtain a professional event. The Barefoot Walk has been a large event in the London area for six years and as a committee we felt it was time that we develop an event that involves and entertains any individual in London and the surrounding area. This year we were also fortunate to welcome back Marc Kielburger as well as invite one of Free The Children’s Youth speakers Molly Burke. It was a great honour to continue building our strong relationship with another organization that embraces youth and children to continue their work and understating for local and global change. As a committee we all agreed that even though this year was stressful in the planning process, the event we were able to carry out exceeded all our past expectations of The Barefoot Walk.
The 2014 Committee
More information about the 2014 committee to come soon!
The 2015 Committee
This year, The Barefoot Walk hosted a 2-hour sit down show that aimed to engage and inspire the attendees with motivational speakers and special musical guests. With upwards of 2000 attendees, 2015 was a year t remember! Once again, the organizational structure of The Barefoot Walk was completely overhauled. In response to our rapid growth year to year, The Barefoot Walk implemented a structure that aimed to empower team members to focus there energy and talents to enhance and expand their areas of The Barefoot Walk – and that they did!