Old shoes could change a life

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Life doesn’t get much better than when adults help a student put a plan into action. The Los Alamos Kiwanis club has done just that.
Los Alamos High School student Anna Carroll stepped up to the plate without her shoes last week, as she launched a community-wide shoe
drive to help change the world.
Carroll, along with fellow LAHS Key Club students, has partnered with Think Kindness and Soles4Souls, to conduct shoe drives throughout the school district and in the community.
The Key Club is part of Key Club International, the oldest and largest student-led community service organization for high school students. The local group has partnered with Soles4Souls and Think Kindness, which distributes new and used shoes to those in need all around the world.
Carroll was first introduced to the idea this summer when she attended the Key Club International Convention in Memphis, Tenn.
Students were able to attend educational workshops to gain new ideas and leadership skills for youth to bring home to their own clubs and organizations.
Carroll’s choice was entitled, “Change the World in 15 Days,” and with the help of the community, she will do just that.
“I spent the next hour listening to a speaker named Brian Williams, who introduced the crowd to this amazing project,” Carroll said. “He opened the speech by asking, ‘Who here thinks their school has the lamest mascot?’ I raised my hand and offered that I was one of the Los Alamos Hilltoppers. What a way to engage the group, and I’m pretty sure I won that contest.”
Williams told the crowd how so many people in the world struggle to get through their days without any shoes and how he had made it his life mission to change that fact.
Williams’ charity partners with high school students around the nation to perform major acts through good deeds. The Los Alamos team consists of Carroll and fellow Key Club members; Sky Korber, Katelyn Littleton, Katey Thomas, Stephenie Bronkhorst, Megan Kelly, Michelle Boerigter, Katie Hemphill and Thomas Crotzer.
Key Club sponsor, Kathy Boerigter and Kiwanians Morrie Pongratz and Don Casperson have helped Carroll to organize the charge and collect donations for the December project. Their efforts led to funds for advertising and arranging to have the speaker present at each school.
Carroll hasn’t spent much time reflecting on how she, as an individual, will impact hundreds of children in several countries to receive the education that many take for granted each day. Instead, she heaps praise on a variety of others including the Girl Scouts of Los Alamos; the Holiday Inn; the Jemez House Thrift Store in White Rock and the local Kiwanis club. Carroll also poured out the praise for her parents, “for helping with everything.”
Shoe collection locations include: Smith’s Food and Drug Stores, Otowi Station, LA Fitness and Curves for Women.
The Key Club must also raise the money to mail the shoes for distribution. The good news is that it only takes $1 per pair and the $1 donation can change someone’s life.
“Often, a pair of shoes is all that stands between a child and his or her education, either because he or she has a long walk to school, or because children are not admitted to many schools without proper footwear,” Carroll said.
Carroll said in Haiti, with the recent cholera outbreak, shoes can literally halt the spread of that and many other diseases, transmitted through contact with waste and sewage running through the streets.
Those who wish to make a financial contribution should visit one of the local collection areas or contact Carroll at 505-412-0228 or annacarroll12@gmail.com.