2012-06-08 / Front Page

Columbians to cover 7,000 kms and six African countries for children

By Cathy Cobbs

Michael Wright and Micah Kurtz Michael Wright and Micah Kurtz It’s one thing to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – Columbia’s Michael Wright and Micah Kurtz are going to travel 7,000 kilometers in order to provide almost 500 children the opportunity to walk in their own shoes.

The two men, Wright, a law clerk for H. Bruce Williams at South Carolina Court of Appeals and Kurtz, the strength/conditioning coach and physical education teacher at A.C. Flora High School, have formed with three others the only American team to participate in this year’s Put Foot Rally, an initiative that works to provide shoes to children in African villages. The U.S. team, called Better the Globe, is one of 60 from all around the world that will be gathering funds and delivering the shoes.

At a fundraiser June 5 at Jake’s in Five Points, which was donating a percentage of the night’s proceeds to Better the Globe, Wright and Kurtz said they are confident they will complete their monetary goal of $5,000 in advance of their June 17 departure date.

They said they are looking forward to the trip, although they admit it will be somewhat of a culture shock.

“ We don’t really know what to expect,” Wright said. “I think we will be overwhelmed by the needs of the people of the countries we will be visiting and realize that in America we really don’t know how lucky we are.”

The team— two people from Philadelphia, Trae Roberts and Maureen Roberts, and Lucas Kurtz, an attorney who is a USC graduate— will travel for 17 days by jeep to villages in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique to deliver the shoes.

“In many cases we are going to be physically putting shoes on the children, which I think will be very emotional,” Wright said. “For some, this will be the first time they have owned new shoes.”

The group’s website, www.bettertheglobe.com, sums up their approach: “Impact requires effort. Effort requires desire. Desire requires emotion.”

The website contains a direct link for those who want to donate to the team, a map of their journey, and a 15- minute video that outlines Put Foot Rally’s mission and documents previous Put Foot rallies. For more information about the international initiative, visit putfootrally.com and for those who want to keep up with the U.S. team on Twitter, follow @ BetterTheGlobe.

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