Latasha and Mimi Traynham, 11, Richmond, VA
With Latasha’s help, Mimi organized a school shoe drive that brought in more than 300 pairs of footwear — in just three weeks!
“Every day on my way to and from school, I’d see the same homeless man with shoes that were completely falling apart,” says Mimi. “I wanted to do something to help people like him.” Determined to support her daughter’s goal of rounding up 150 pairs of shoes — but not sure where to begin — Latasha talked to Mimi’s principal about placing a donation box in the school lobby and promoting a drive. Mother and daughter distributed flyers, then watched in awe as the box filled up with shoes in all sizes and styles. After three weeks, they had more than twice as many pairs as Mimi had set out to generate! Ultimately, all 300-plus shoes were picked up from the Traynham’s home by the Salvation Army, which cleaned and distributed them to local shelters, rehabilitation centers, group homes, and churches.
The Traynhams plan to do an even bigger drive this year. “Imagine how many shoes we can bring in with even more time!” Latasha says. And this year, they hope to involve a crucial partner: a storage space company — so they no longer have to pair, bag, and tie hundreds of shoes in their own living room, as they did last year.
“If your child has a dream, just tell her to keep pushing for it,” says Latasha. “Something that seems small to an adult could end up having a huge impact. Mimi was inspired by the sight of one person, and her dream ended up helping more than 300 people.” Mimi concurs: “Go after what your imagination tells you — try it, and if it doesn’t work, you can always try something else.”
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