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The Story of It's Gotta Be the Shoes

The anticipation was overwhelming.  The 100 mile trip with my parents to the nearest Foot Locker is one of those childhood memories that I will never forget.  We would eventually arrive where I would walk into a Foot Locker for the very first time and walk out with my very own pair of Air Jordan’s, along with a new pair of socks.  As soon as I got in the car I put them on for the long drive home.  I remember sitting in the back seat and plopping my feet and new shoes on the middle console where I just sat and stared at them, day dreaming about lacing them up at the Community Center the next day.  When we got home that night it was bedtime.  I put the shoes back in the box and placed them next to my pillow that night and the following nights to follow. 


My parents saw how much the new shoes meant to me and how proud I was.  They noticed how much more confident I looked, and how much more I wanted to go out and practice.  It was so much more than just having a quality pair of shoes on my feet.  To this day when I buy my own kids’ new shoes or when I see other kids get new shoes I think about my own childhood experience.  I can vividly picture those shoes and can even remember the scent that comes from a brand new sneaker.  You see, the kid in me wants other kids to experience that same feeling, and the parent in me wants to make sure that kids that really need new shoes get that opportunity.  It’s for these reasons, It’s Gotta Be The Shoes was born.

Meet the Team

We are so grateful to be given an opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of children. The incredible energy that is created by these kids pays us back tenfold.


Don Carlson


Potvin, Jon Gray Square.jpg

Jon Potvin

Board Member


Galen Duncan, PhD



Heather Carlson

Event Coordinator


Betsy Thompson

Community Engagement


Ryan Dishnow

Board Member

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