Christine Caulk, dance management sophomore, is collecting tap shoes for children in Uganda.
“If I can give back to what tap has given to me, I’ll do everything I can,” Caulk said.
Caulk began collecting the shoes to help Pamela Vlach, a mentor of hers who runs a nonprofit organization called Tap Uganda, which was started at the beginning of 2017 after Vlach traveled to Uganda to teach children tap.
Since then, Vlach has taught classes virtually and sent the children tap shoes through donations. Vlach also spent August in Uganda teaching the class again.
Caulk said she felt motivated to give back because she wants to help her mentor bring tap to children in need. She also said she hopes to travel to Uganda herself one day.
“Tap has changed my life,” Caulk said. “It’s the reason I wake up in the morning. It’s the reason I’m here, and it’s the reason I’m pursuing what I’m pursuing.”
Caulk said tap helps children in Uganda find ways to make an income.
“Anything they can do, they can make money off of, in order to provide for their family and their community,” she said. “Putting on a tap show is a start of an income and a skill.”
This is Caulk’s first time collecting the shoes. She said she’s hoping to send out 40 pairs. There is no time limit, but Caulk said she hopes students can send in their shoes before winter break.
“I know what tap means to me and how it makes me feel every time I put on my tap shoes,” she said. “There’s no reason for these kids not to feel the same way just because of where they are and their situation.”
Caulk said she accepts tap shoes of any size or quality.
Darcy Tipps, cell and molecular biology sophomore, said she is planning to donate her tap shoes to Tap Uganda.
“I took up tap in middle school and really enjoyed it, and it was a nice escape for me from the world,” Tipps said. “The fact that she wants to be able to give that to other kids is really awesome.”
Students may donate by contacting Caulk at firstname.lastname@example.org.