Quail Hollow students help support Miss Sandy’s shoe drive for African children
Miss Sandy, Katie Ann Powell, provided flyiers about her shoe drive for Quail Hollow students, who responded with about 1,400 pairs of shoes. (Katie Ann Powell/Miss Sandy)
For two weeks, Quail Hollow Elementary students could be seen carrying extra shoes to school. It wasn’t for physical education, but rather to team up with Miss Sandy Katie Ann Powell in a shoe drive to benefit African children.
The shoe drive is a part of the effort of the nonprofit organization Power to Become, where shoes will be taken to Laye, Burkina Faso to be given to African children who don’t have any footwear.
Second-grade teacher Mallory Goaslind said the school’s two-week shoe drive was an opportunity for students to help provide service.
“Donating something they didn’t need anymore, or collecting from family members who didn’t, was easily something they could accomplish and feel like they were contributing, even for a second-grader,” she said. “It was a good opportunity to talk about helping others. For my class, I think the biggest thing they gained was the power of supporting a team. We saw that in how they encouraged each other, and me, to bring more shoes every day. They cheered and were so excited to help organize the new donations we got and count them all out. It was also a good opportunity for them to see that they can all help.”
Goaslind, who knows Powell and her family through church, said once she was approached with the idea, she took it to Principal Shad DeMill and Student Council Advisor Nic Heinz, who both backed the idea and put student council in charge of the activity.
“I liked the idea that it helped build community beyond our walls,” Heniz said. “It was students who helped organize our daily reminders and it gave them time to demonstrate citizenship and become aware of the needs of other people and extend to helping others.”
DeMill said they kicked off the school drive with a video provided by Powell.
The video showed the conditions in Burkina Faso and how there were makeshift homes, little food and no water, Powell said.
“I wanted them to understand who they were helping and why,” she said. “If we can’t find someone who can use the pair of shoes that is being donated, Power to Become sells them and the money goes to the water project for the village. Every small act of kindness becomes significant as we work together.”
The water project includes digging a well this summer and then filtering water for the villagers, she said.
The overall goal of Power to Become is to gather 13,000 pounds of shoes, or a two-car garage filled four times, Powell said.
Quail Hollow students turned the shoe drive into a friendly competition between classrooms, with the winning class receiving a pizza party with Powell. Student council would remind classmates of the shoe drive and its importance while picking up shoes from classrooms and lining them in the hallway, DeMill said.
Goaslind said her class took the message and competition to heart.
“We talked about where Africa and Burkina Faso are, located them on a map, and discussed a little bit about what life is like there. Most of what we talked about was how our lives are so much different from theirs and why our old shoes would be so important and helpful to them,” she said. “My favorite part of the project was seeing how excited the kids got every time we got more shoes. I had one student bring in 50 pairs of shoes on the first day. My class was ecstatic. I had another student bring in 67 pairs of shoes on the last day of the contest. The students were thanking each other for helping us win. They were encouraging each other to participate and contribute. Every day I had someone ask me when I was going to bring shoes.”
At the end of the drive, the Quail Hollow community donated about 1,400 pairs of shoes. Goaslind’s class brought in the most pairs of shoes and slated a mid-March pizza party with Powell.
“I have a pretty big car and it filled it four times. Those students are amazing,” Powell said. “I hope they gained an understanding of people and their needs in Africa and an awareness that service can be as easy as cleaning out their closets and finding items that others are in need of can be a blessing to many others.”