My friend, Kathryn Hoover, from Washtenaw International High School & Middle Academy in Ypsilanti, Michigan did a really cool and worthwhile project with her students called SOLE HOPE.
Here is what Laura had to say:
I’m so proud of our students. They have been working on a community service project for Sole Hope organization. We are cutting patterns from used jeans that will be made into SHOES for kids and adults in Uganda. They get jiggers that burrow into their feet from not having shoes. The infections from the sores can even be fatal. I’m so GRATEFUL for all of the donations from students and families. My cup runneth over. My dad even spent a lot of time cutting apart plastic bottles and cleaned all of it. The plastic is used to reinforce the heels of the shoes. His father….my dear Olpa, was a shoemaker by trade in Germany so I find this special. We are holding an event next Thursday after school to finish making the shoes with both our high school and middle school students. I love seeing how it impacts their hearts. What a special project. The students love it. Best community service project! Here is the link: www.solehope.org
It is so therapeutic. I have students who have asked to come at lunch to my office to work on it. Then I talk to them about their lives, academics, etc…while they’re working on the project. It’s wonderful. Teaches CARING. Contributes also to a CARING CULTURE.
I just put a blurb in my counseling newsletter to parents and to our staff. For a month, people have been dropping off bags of jeans in the school office for me! I finally have enough to hold a shoe making party after school. I’ve been letting some students work on it already in my office as donations have poured in. Almost too easy.
If you go to this link, it will explain on the website how to get involved. I just paid a $15 donation and they send you a sample, DVD and patterns. It’s super easy. We’re just tracing and cutting the patterns. Then we send them to the headquarters in North Carolina. Then they ship them to the location in Uganda where they hire local people to make and assemble the shoes with the cut outs we sent. So we don’t actually put the shoes together. They do.
All I can say, is that I am inspired to hold my own shoe cutting party at my school. I will ask for jean donations in my summer newsletter and put a team together in the early fall when school begins. What a way to bring everyone together right at the beginning of the year. . .plus think about all those jeans kids won’t be wearing because they outgrew them over the summer! Win-win!
Let me know what you think about this program. If you have any other great community service ideas, I’d love to hear them as well!