MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Hoping to change the world through a shoe, the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and the Mid-South is gearing up for an awareness walk.
Across the country, participants will walk to raise money in October to show their support for families impacted by Down Syndrome.
More than 3,500 people participated in the Step Up Walk in Memphis last year.
Executive Director of DSA in the Mid-South Martine Hobson said it is about teaching the community that people with Down Syndrome are more alike than different.
"They are just like we are," Hobson said. "They have the same wants and needs. They want to be independent, they want to work."
Hopson said the walk provides more than half of the organization's financial support each year.
"I looked this morning and I think we have 60 teams registered for the walk so far," Hobson added.
This year, a uniquely created shoe by SoGiv founder and philanthropic designer Edward Bogard will help with those fundraising efforts. SoGiv is a non-profit shoe design company.
"Blue and yellow are the down Syndrome awareness colors, we call them 'the Cool Blues'," Bogard said.
"I like my shoes," said DSA volunteer and So Giv ambassador Jamila Morrow while modeling the shoes.
The DSA custom shoe will also provide an education exercise.
"Creatively, we're able to teach the kids their seven continents through our SoGiv shoes, Bogard said.
The Step Up Walk will be held October 23 at Christian Brothers University from 12-4 pm.
All donations go to support the association's programs and resources.
"We have a tutoring program in reading and math that we do for free for our families," Hobson said. "We also provide adult education, teacher resources, and offer new parent support."
"Everyone who signs up for the race gets a free pair, it's included in their registration fee," Bogard said. "100 percent of the proceeds benefit their mission. So we are literally changing the world through a shoe."