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story.lead_photo.caption A trip for TOMS Shoes inspires Idol

American Idol winner and UCA alum Kris Allen will return to his alma mater Thursday to lead the Barefoot Walk.

The Barefoot Walk ties in with a global initiative sponsored by TOMS Shoes, a Santa Monica, California-based shoe manufacturer, in which participants are encouraged to not wear shoes for one day. The date chosen this year is April 8.

The two benefiting Arkansas-based non-profits are Bridge2Rwanda, a Little Rock-based nonprofit that is helping rebuild the country of Rwanda through entrepreneurship, and Heifer International, which also administers strong support programs in Rwanda.

The Barefoot Walk at UCA begins at 3 p.m. in the Student Center courtyard and concludes at the Reynolds Performance Hall, where Allen will take stage and discuss his recent trip to Rwanda. He is expected to perform two or three songs.

Allen is just back from Rwanda where he placed shoes on the feet of Rwandan children on behalf of Toms shoes and Bridge2Rwanda.

Allen spent a week in Rwanda

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Free event tickets will be handed out to Barefoot Walk participants only for Allen's presentation at Reynolds Performance Hall. The tickets are necessary for admission into the Reynolds Performance Hall. Approximately 1,150 tickets are available and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration for the walk begins at 2:15 p.m. in front of the Student Center courtyard.

T-shirts will be on sale at the event. All proceeds will go to Bridge2Rwanda.

Allen, who returned from Rwanda on April 2, was visiting the country as part of Bridge2Rwanda’s volunteer program. While there, he delivered thousands of TOMS shoes to Rwandan children and provided music lessons to high school students.

Allen’s UCA appearance follows Heifer International’s Barefoot Bash.

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