Kidz Spotlight: Gotta Have Sole

Kidz Spotlight: Gotta Have Sole
A row of kids sitting on a stone wall with their legs dangling

 

Kids are doing amazing things all over the world. 

Nicholas Lowinger was only 5 years old when his mother first took him to a homeless shelter. His mother wanted to show him how other people lived. As he looked around at other kids, he noticed that many of them had tattered shoes, if any at all, while his mom had previously purchased him some new shoes.

Nicholas saw a problem and he wanted to fix it - or at least help as much as he could. At first he started to donate his own old pairs of shoes, but when he realized that only helped kids with his own shoe size, he decided it wasn’t enough. 

This is when the idea behind Gotta Have Sole was born.

Gotta Have Sole
Nicholas knew that the only way kids could have comfortable shoes that fit correctly was if they had their own new pair. When he turned 12, he worked to start his own charity called Gotta Have Sole with the mission to provide new sneakers for kids in homeless shelters. 

Early on in his journey, he met a pair of siblings: one boy and one girl. They were affected by homelessness and had to share only one pair of shoes. Due to this predicament, only one child could go to school at a time. The shoes were pink girls’ shoes and were especially difficult for the boy to wear. Not only were they uncomfortable, but he got bullied at school for wearing them. It made him not want to go to school anymore.

Once each child had a pair of their own shoes, they could go to school together. The brother was finally excited to go to school as he wasn’t being bullied much and generally became happier.

A new pair of shoes allowed these kids to attend school, feel more confident, and feel comfortable to pursue sports or any other dream they have. When Nicholas saw the difference that shoes could make in the life of a kid, he knew he had to keep doing it. 

The Snowball Effect
Over the years, Gotta Have Sole has grown exponentially.  The charity has given shoes to over 100,000 kids in homeless shelters and has grown to include scholarships and other programs.

SOLEdier is an initiative that provides new shoes for veterans. They’ve also created youth group clubs that offer after school programs that fundraise and deliver shoes to homeless shelters. A college ambassador program helps homeless youth develop skills and scholarships were created to provide extraordinary youth with the chance to keep moving forward in higher education. 

All of this is possible because Gotta Have Sole runs fundraisers, sports tournaments, and shoe drives where people can donate shoes or funds to help the cause. One idea from a kid was able to snowball into all kinds of positive change for kids, youth and adults all over the country. 

Do you know a kid doing something amazing in the world or their community? Let us know about them in the comments.

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