Student Articles

Docs for Socks

By Kristen Brett
KSUCPM Class of 2020

This past week, as finals wrapped up and the snow fell here in Cleveland, two second-year students at Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine (KSUCPM) warmed the feet of many of those in need in downtown Cleveland. Rachel Height-Kaplan and Deana Lewis collected brand-new, unopened socks and lightly worn clothing, such as gloves, hats, sweaters and pants, for the less fortunate. The organization, Docs for Socks, is a non-profit that was pioneered in Michigan by Mrs. Susan Height-Kaplan and her husband, Dr. Randy Kaplan.

Rachel and Deana collected over 20 bags of lightly used winter items from the students and faculty at KSUCPM. The collected items were donated to The City Mission, a non-profit charity organization serves the Cleveland community. When asked about their favorite part of the effort, Rachel stated, “My favorite part was taking all the donations down to the shelter and seeing the reaction of the workers when they saw the amount of donations we brought.” Deana stated that her favorite part was "seeing the looks on the faces of the people at the City Mission. They were all so happy and grateful for all that we brought to them.”

Second-year medical students have it tough academically, between studying for final exams, tutoring the first-year students, and keeping fresh with board studying. This can make it difficult to remain active in the community, however, Rachel and Deana have been able to do just that through Docs for Socks. “Being fortunate enough to be students in the medical field, specifically podiatry, we see feet every day and you don’t always realize that some may not have the basics, such as socks, in order to properly care for their feet. It just goes to show that even as podiatry students, we can still make a positive impact on our community and changes the lives of other people just as we would as a physician. It’s truly an amazing feeling!” As podiatry students, Rachel and Deana have been forever impacted by this experience.

Opportunities like this do not fall into your lap. Often times it takes a special individual to step out of his or her comfort zone to seek an opportunity like this. When asked what they would recommend to students who are trying to get more involved in the community, Rachel and Deana stated, “we recommend talking to students/faculty who are heavily involved in the community so they can provide volunteer opportunities that are local. Also, getting more involved with school clubs and not being scared to share your ideas with other people.”

This holiday season, students like Rachel and Deana remind us all that there is more to studying and doing well on exams. They were able to bring their school community together for a good cause. “It had a much bigger turnout then I expected,” Rachel noted, “and I couldn’t be happier.” Deana has called Cleveland home for many years and Docs for Socks helped her achieve one of her many personal goals. “I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio - one of my goals has always been to make sure to always give back to my home city and this program allowed me to do that and much more.”

If you are interested in more information about Docs for Socks, please reach out to Rachel Height-Kaplan at


"The American Podiatric Medical Students’ Association is the national, student-led organization that serves as the collective voice for all podiatric medical students. We are committed to the protection and advancement of student rights and interests by advocating in legislative and educational arenas. We provide resources to our members to assist them throughout their education as they transition into podiatric residents and physicians."