Sneaker Reward System | Bread Charity

Child poverty has many dimensions. How do we keep kids in school? By making it fun.

Start Date: October 2023


How do we reduce truancy + make school fun? Gamify education with motivation to attend school and achieve. Build a program that lasts years and not a one off.

Future Plans

We aim to expand this project to more schools, replicating our success and enhancing educational opportunities.


"In the words of the parents we have a school of good kids at the moment. All of them are trying to win the shoes. There is still hype and conversations around the shoes."

Deputy Principal (Avondale Intermediate)

Sneaker Reward System

Students in school can redeem points earned each month for sneakers.

Results so far:

The chart below illustrates the occurrence of behavioral issues in a school setting, comparing two distinct periods: before and after the implementation of the Sneaker Reward System. The 'Before' period spans from July 17, 2023, to September 22, 2023, while the 'After' period covers from October 16, 2023, to November 15, 2023. Before Implementation: During this initial phase, the frequency of behavioral issues was tracked across various locations within the school environment. The data points indicate the prevalence of certain behaviors that the Sneaker Reward System aims to address.

1.0 Abstract:

Students in school earn tokens for good behavior e.g. good attendance, improved grades and making a song in a Bread Studio. They redeem these tokens for a pair of Nike Air Force Ones. I held a music contest with Nike's Vice President and this was an idea I had inspired by what we did.

2.0 Background:

Every year we team up with Auckland Police to give gifts to children. These gifts are aimed at making the kids feel valued given by police officers; this also improves the relationship and feeling of coming together as a community and that we are all here to look after each other.

The gifts are specifically chosen to create enthusiasm, including laptops, tablets and Nike sneakers. We can physically see the children's amazement when seeing such amazing presents. The parent is always physically present, and the effects can also be seen on the family in that moment.

2.10 Methods of Giving:

Let's take a pair of sneakers given to a child and compare that in our program to a generic act of giving. There is no perfect solution, but we attempt to understand and see if innovation is possible. Just giving something to a child is good, but to make a real difference it happens over time. If someone wanted to help another person, they could give them a certain commodity, if someone wants to see the other person grow and their community grow, they would give a commodity, monitor things over time and create a program where they can improve - over time.

Generic Giving - A pair of school shoes are given to a child at school
  • The child now has a pair of black school shoes they may not have had before. This could result in more confidence or even the ability to attend school.
Bread Giving - A pair of Nike shoes is given to children at school.
  • The child now has a pair of sneakers they may not have had before. This could result in more confidence or even the ability to attend school/sport.
  • It is a nice pair of shoes. It's exciting to put on; they look forward to wearing them.
  • It's given by police officers, 'Wow, police actually care about us this much and want to see us succeed?'
  • It's given in front of their parents.
  • Next time the police interact with them, e.g. domestic violence or bunking school, 'this officer (or another) went out of their way to give me something on Christmas, maybe he/she cares and their help is something positive'
  • This method, however, is limited in scale (more expensive) and more time intensive but with the belief more effect on a smaller scale is better than 100x the scale with less effect.

Is there a chance of the sneakers or laptop being sold? Absolutely. But by giving through a medium in a social context, the act of sharing a material item enters a level of social effect, which is the desirable outcome. Because of our method of giving, there is still an ongoing positive effect in the absence of the material object.

Is it necessary to give something of value to the children/families? I believe so because, firstly, donating clothing to children in need is giving them something necessary. But also secondly the act of giving something to someone is a special social interaction that humans have done since our existence. Whether it's bringing a plate of salad at a friend's dinner, a birthday present to a friend, or money given on Chinese New Year, the Egyptians gave gifts/offerings - giving of something material has always been a part of human culture.

3.0 The Sneaker Project:

We want to donate Nike Air Force Ones to a school and students can earn a pair by earning tokens. A school-wide approach could be taken with a leaderboard and 2 pairs given each month.

The challenge is sizing, but having a physical display of shoes in the office where the kids could walk past it daily as a reminder can be a strong motivator. Perhaps a few shoes could be purchased beforehand and every shoe needed after which isn't the correct size there can be ordered in. e.g. 4 shoes are used in the office display put on the wall if a student is a corresponding size they can use that pair and another ordered. If they aren't that size, the pair is ordered into the school. If there are ever excess, they are used in our Police program.

Another alternative is we order every pair in and contact sneaker stores if they have damaged or single pair shoes they could donate to make a cool display

Why a display? Children are creative thinkers and to see something cool at their school can add to the excitement of being at school.

What do we want to see?

  • Excitement to come to school.
  • More drive and belief in them to accomplish a task.
  • Make school fun and working on self-improvement fun
  • Create a sense of belonging, 'wow these teachers set up this program they must care about us'. When giving presents to kids at christmas we take no credit in front of the kids, we say it's from police. This is crucial. We don't benefit from taking credit, but the real benefit is seen if the present is coming from the officer.
3.10 Examples of Tasks:
Tokens Task
100 100% Attendance
50 Make 5 tracks in the Bread Studio
50 Increase your GPA by 2 or maintain a high GPA for 2 terms
3.2 Addition of Bread Studio

It would be of interest to set up another Bread Studio in the school chosen and have one of the ways of earning tokens as making a song.

Why music? Because maths clubs are boring and making music is almost like a game. Making a song is like starting a business one has to marketing and promote the track much like a business selling a product. The child learns the importance and excitement behind creating something and can apply it to so many things in life.

4.0 What next?:

We will aim to scale this in more schools and continue support for existing schools. I grew up in Gisborne which gives me an interesting perspective when approaching these programs, a lot of times I think 'what could have helped my mates in school?'. This first hand experience, combined with passion for making meaningful change, will lead to great outcomes.