July 18, 2019

4-H Jr. Leaders accepting shoe donations - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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4-H Jr. Leaders accepting shoe donations

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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 4:31 pm

The(Lake County 4-H Junior Leaders are wrapping up a community service project which has been under way since March.)

The shoe drive is part of a statewide effort to collect 10,000 pair of shoes for Soles4Souls. Thus far, Lake County has collected 347 pair.

The group didn't have a goal when they started the project, according to volunteer Robin Wicks. Rather, the fledgling club is just learning how to organize a project of this nature.

"I think the goal was to see if we could get a response from the schools," she said.

Until last year, Lake County did not have an active Junior Leaders club. However, while serving as the Extension adviser, Allyssa Sims worked to revive the program, according to Wicks. 4-H members who are in junior high and high school students can become involved in the program.

"We offer this program to help them develop leadership skills and learn how to be a leader," Wicks said.

Through the program, junior leaders become role models for the younger 4-H members and help them to learn leadership skills. Each year, a statewide community service project is chosen at the Teen Leadership Conference.

Last year, Junior Leaders who attended the conference voted to sponsor a community service project in partnership with Soles4Souls. The nonprofit has distributed more than 30 million pair of new and gently-used shoes in 127 countries, according to promotional materials.

In Lake County, in addition to having a drop-off box in the Extension Office, Junior Leaders opted to have drop-off boxes in schools. In Rutland and in Oldham-Ramona, club members organized the drive. In Chester, the club partnered with the FFA to host the shoe drive at the school.

At this year's Teen Leadership Conference, the shoes collected across the state will be boxed for shipment.

Wicks said she has been pleased with the response.

"There are a lot of giving souls in our communities if you just reach out to them," she said.

Wicks' son Colton has been involved in the project. He said the project has been a learning experience for him.

"There is a way we can help people around the world if we focus on trying to help," he said.

New and gently-used shoes can be dropped off at the Lake County Extension Office between 8:30 a.m. and noon or between 1-5 p.m. through Friday.

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