Photos contributed

Staff Report

Students at Santa Ynez Valley Charter School began the school year collecting used shoes in support of Soles4Souls, a nonprofit enterprise that provides relief and support through the distribution of footwear to adults and children in need.

Brianna Uribe and Danaka Cantrell were among the third-graders who organized the shoes after they were donated.

Through this endeavor, charter students learned that in developing countries a pair of shoes can enable children to walk to school and can be the difference in allowing adults to get to work. Students rummaged through closets and asked family members if they had shoes that were no longer being used. Once collected, the shoes are sent all over the world in hopes of creating opportunities for others. 

Third-grade students in teacher Lauren Dalton’s class determined the final count and prepped the shoes to be shipped to Soles4Souls.

“We set a school goal of donating 100 pairs of shoes within six weeks. After all contributions we have received 268 pairs of shoes with six of our grades reaching 100 percent participation. This is definitely something to be proud of,” Dalton said.

“I learned that other people need shoes more than we do and that we can give stuff to people that they really need,’ said third-grader Brianna Uribe. “My favorite part was sorting all the tiny little pairs.”

“We’re donating to give other people care. Some of the shoes have memories but others were almost brand new. We had pairs that were the same, too, so if there are triplets they could probably have them,” added third-grader Danaka Cantrell.

Volunteering and community service are an integral part of the founding vision of the K-8 Santa Ynez Valley Charter School, now in its 20th year as an independent public school.