By Erin Dugan, Vanderbilt Athletics
The Vanderbilt women's basketball team started the third day of its adventure in Costa Rica with an early breakfast before departing the hotel for Escuela España, where the Commodore student-athletes and staff teamed with a Nashville non-profit organization to distribute new shoes to local school children.
The players and staff greeted more than 400 children, then sized and washed the youngsters' feet before providing a brand new pair of shoes of each child. The Vanderbilt party quickly realized what a fresh pair of shoes means to the children, many of whom come from families in poverty and different financial situations.
The Vanderbilt student-athletes pointed out in their wrap-up discussion that although the language barrier was difficult at certain times throughout the day, a smile is something that is universal. This served as the most important means of communication throughout the project.
The children's shoes were furnished by Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based organization that provides new footwear to individuals in need across the globe. Vanderbilt student-athletes and staff have worked frequently with Soles4Souls on both shoe drives and foreign service projects.
After visiting the elementary school, the Commodores regrouped at the hotel before heading out to BN Arena for their tip-off against Costa Rica. Stephanie White's Commodores registered a 76-56 victory over the home opponent.
The excursion continues today as the team heads out for a whitewater rafting trip in San José before heading to Los Sueños, located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.