Raising Environmental Awareness, One Shoe at a Time

This year’s Student Volunteer of the Year delivered a total of 5,500 shoes to the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse at the Village at Stone Oak in San Antonio Monday completing a spring Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) service project and learning more than she ever imagined.

Smithson Valley High School Junior Abigail Redin, who was named the Student Volunteer of the Year during last week’s Comal ISD Council of PTA’s Founder’s Day celebration, spearheaded a Soles4Souls shoe drive spanning six campuses. Soles4Souls is a non-profit organization which repurposes products such as shoes to supply micro-enterprise businesses, disaster relief and direct assistance programs around the world, thus creating jobs and disrupting the cycle of poverty; and relieving landfills.

Redin currently serves as the environmental chair of the SVHS PTSA and began the shoe drive on her campus with hopes of collecting 1,000 pairs of shoes in a short span of time – only 11 days. She first enlisted the help of student organizations on her campus including the Student Council, Humans of SV, environmental science, the National Honor Society, athletics, fine arts, NJROTC and agriculture science, relying on student leaders to coordinate the efforts of these various groups.

Students such as junior Owen Woodard, a varsity basketball player for SVHS, coordinated the athletic department’s Soles4Souls efforts and hosted a shoe drive at one of the Rangers basketball games. Woodard also made a commercial about the campaign with the Ranger Network. Besides Woodard, Redin relied on junior Caleb Mosley, sophomore Lindsay Pattison and senior Grant Pattison.

With the excitement building on her own campus, Redin realized that this was an environmental project in which all ages could participate, and she invited other campus PTSA units in the Smithson Valley feeder pattern to join her. Spring Branch Middle School, Smithson Valley Middle School, Pieper Ranch Middle School, Johnson Ranch Elementary and Indian Springs Elementary jumped on board and lead their own drives with amazing results.

Sisters Shyann and Alexis Moriarty took the lead at PRMS and Indian Springs elementary respectively. Shyann, a seventh grader, helped collect 213 pairs of shoes while Alexis, a fifth grader, helped collect 300 pairs.

Seventh grader Grayson Cook coordinated the efforts at SVMS and enlisted the help of NJHS students, hosting a Soles4Souls drive at one of the Mustangs’ basketball games. His hard work paid off with a collection totaling 734 pairs of shoes.

At SBMS, NJHS students worked with PTSA president Kathy Renfrow to collect 164 pairs of shoes; and at JRES, school counselor Amy Rule worked with the Student Lighthouse Team to collect 433 pairs of shoes.

“This shoe drive was the perfect example of how campus PTSA units can work together,” says Shirley Koop, president of the Comal ISD Council of PTAs. “PTSA offers great opportunities for students to become leaders. We are proud of all of the students who lead this effort to make a difference.”

With all the moving parts of this campaign, Redin worked closely with her fellow student leaders to ensure the campaign was a success. She also looked for a community partner who would be willing to mail the shoes to a Soles4Souls distribution center. Redin recalled seeing Soles4Souls collection boxes in the DSW store in Stone Oak, and one day she went inside and asked the store manager Bailey Gibson if she would help. She agreed and now will ship the shoes to a Soles4Souls distribution center in Alabama at no cost to the PTSA or the district.

Soles4Souls, based in Nashville, Tennessee, has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries. These shoes will be separated based on their style, quality and season. New shoes are given to individuals in need; gently-worn shoes and some new are distributed to micro-enterprise programs in developing countries; and shoes which cannot be refurbished are recycled. For more information about the organization visit https://soles4souls.org/.


Photo 1: Delivering 88 boxes of shoes to DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse from left were CISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Academics Kerry Gain, SVHS junior Owen Woodard, SVHS junior Abigail Redin, DSW sales clerk Christie Fealy, SVMS seventh grader Grayson Cook and DSW sales clerk Stacey Laird.

Photo 2: CISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Academics Kerry Gain and SVHS junior Abigail Redin delivered 88 boxes of shoes to DSW Store Manager Bailey Gibson.

Photo 3: CISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Academics Kerrry Gain, DSW sales clerks Christie Fealy and Stacey Laird along with SVHS junior Abigail Redin unload a few of the 88 boxes full of shoes at DSW store at the Village at Stone Oak in San Antonio.

Photo 4: Pictured top from left are campus Soles4Souls campaign coordinators: Pieper Ranch Middle School seventh grader Shyann Moriarty, SVHS junior Abigail Redin and Indian Springs Elementary School fifth grader Alexis Moriarty. Seated is Smithson Valley Middle School seventh grader Grayson Cook.

Photo 5: SVHS juniors from left Owen Woodard, Abigail Redin and Caleb Mosley.

Photo 6: SVHS students surrounded by donated shoes for the PTSA Soles4Souls campaign.

Watch Abigail in Cruzin' Comal with Mr. Kim.

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