Smith-Cotton students collect shoes for the needy

March 11, 2013

A Smith-Cotton High School student organization that focuses on families is collecting shoes to help people in need around the world.

FCCLA — Family, Career and Community Leaders of America — is a national career and technical organization for students in high school family and consumer sciences education. S-C teacher Amy Smith, who sponsors the group along with fellow FACS instructor Marina Scheiner, said the goal of the group is to teach “leadership in families, the community and careers.”

She said FCCLA is “a group for students without a niche” that offers opportunities to identify and help expand community outreach efforts.

During FCCLA Week, which ran Feb. 10-15, S-C’s members received nearly 140 pairs of new and used shoes to be donated to the Soles4Souls program, which collects shoes and ships them to “victims of abject suffering,” according to its website (

MacKenzie Walker, a junior and member of FCCLA, said the S-C group is still accepting shoe donations, but there is a need for at least $180 to ship the shoes they already have to a Soles4Souls collection site. Anyone who wants to donate shoes to the cause is asked to include $2 to cover shipping costs; donations can be dropped off at the high school, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd.

Brianna Studt, also a junior and member of FCCLA, said the shoe drive went over well at the high school. Some students purchased new shoes to donate, and upon hearing about the outreach effort, one student took off the month-old shoes he was wearing, donated them and left school in his stocking feet.

Smith said FCCLA teaches students “the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader,” and that members develop life skills including character development, creative and critical thinking and interpersonal communication. Students also get a change to compete in STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) Events, which test chapters’ and individuals’ leadership skills and career preparedness.

Sophomore Ariana Castillo said the Soles4Souls collections make her feel good because “we can do something so simple to change someone’s life.”

Studt said she “always likes helping people” and admires how the FCCLA effort shows how something donors may see as a small thing means so much more to the recipient.