As we prepare for the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, parents are scrambling to get supplies, clothing, and shoes purchased for the big day. And it'll be here before we know it. In Kentucky, the bell will ring on August 7th.

The Dannheiser Fund for Kids

And at this time of year, one organization in Owensboro is here for those kids who need a little bit more than backpacks, notebooks, and markers. A few years ago, Owensboro's Jon Troutman recognized a need and, soon after, the Dannheiser Fund for Kids became a reality. And its partnership with other local non-profits helps provide a special type of education for at-risk kids with free back-to-school shoes.

So far, the DHFund has given free shoes to more than 60 children who have completed special types of education programs with the assistance of the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club.


SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Moves helps kids by promoting abstinence from substance abuse and poor decision-making by teaching them resilience and refusal skills; by developing assertiveness; and by bolstering the decision-making process through analysis of media and peer influence. This instruction is conducted by way of role-playing and engagement in a variety of discussions.

Money Matters

When I was in school, we learned how to write a check and balance a checkbook fairly early on. But there's so much more to financial survival like, for instance, creating a budget, saving and investing, and now to afford and pay for college. In the Money Matters program, kids also learn how to start small businesses.

Healthy Habits/Triple Play

Life skills and financial smarts are vitally important but won't mean much without a healthy mind and body. Healthy Habits/Triple Play focuses on wellness and helping children take care of and maintain their personal health.

How the Free Shoes Program Works

Upon completion of these programs, kids are rewarded with free shoes, yes, but so much more. The confidence attained is an invaluable tool for success and one all kids need. The Dannheiser Fund for Kids' Vision Statement says it best:

Our Vision is to allow youth to see the potential held within them by combining a gift that will help each child in the short term with an experience that will impact them for life.  We strive to help each child understand their dreams cannot be limited and to realize the opportunities to ensure success for their future.

For more information, contact or visit the Dannheiser Fund for Kids Facebook page.

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