By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, many people had to shift their operations to adjust—including a couple of young Palisadians still looking to make a difference.
Palisadians Layla and Leena Adeli recently collaborated with their schools for the second time to collect shoe donations and contribute to Soles4Good, an organization led by Harvard-Westlake sophomore Rowan Jen, the Adelis’ next-door neighbor.
Soles4Good is a student-founded and student-run organization that collects shoes and ships them abroad to women in developing countries to sell themselves. Doing so “create[s] sustainable, lifelong business that generates consistent sources of income,” according to the organization’s mission statement.
The Adeli sisters, Leena, an eighth-grader at Paul Revere Charter Middle School, and Layla, a sophomore at Palisades Charter High School, worked diligently to spread the word of the second annual Soles4Good shoe drive to their peers.
Last year, the two sisters were able to spread the message with posters on campus and through their friend groups. This year, because students are not allowed on campus due to the pandemic, they had to think of new ways to get the message out.
Leena was able to get some help from Paul Revere: She said the school sent messages through Schoology, text messages to parents and included the information in a phone call to parents and students. She also made posters with her friends that her teachers would post on Schoology, and one of her teachers let her to speak to her classmates about the event during a distance learning class.
Layla said she had a contact list of Paul Revere and Pali High parents, as well as people who live in the Palisades, and emailed asking them for shoe donations. With the help of her mom, Fati, she would either go pick up the shoes or people would drop them off at her home.
“I was worried that we weren’t going to be able to get as many shoes because I wasn’t sure how many students would see that [the shoe drive] was happening,” Leena said to the Palisadian-Post. “But we ended up getting about the same amount of shoes we got the first time.”
The shoe drive ran from November 9 to 13, and the sisters are considering another in the spring.
“It’s been awesome to see Layla and Leena take this initiative … I think it’s definitely something we thought initially wasn’t possible,” Jen said to the Post. “It’s a really great sign, it’s really encouraging for us to see something like this happen.”
Jen said the organization has kept in contact with the cohort of women they previously worked with in El Salvador and will send them another shipment of shoes in December.
In addition to this, Jen said the amount of shoes Leena and Layla collected will help provide Soles4Good the potential to expand and reach out to more places. Soles4Good is currently in communication with new people to partner with in different countries, one of them being Nigeria.
“There’s a lot of things coming up in the near future and it’s really because we’ve been able to collect all these shoes,” Jen said. “Something like this will allow us to find another place to go and broaden the scope of our impact, we always want to grow and expand.”
Jen said other West Los Angeles schools have also organized shoe drives in support of Soles4Good, and he encouraged anybody interested to reach out via the organization’s website or social media.
“That’s really what makes Soles4Good great,” Jen concluded. “We’re all student-run and it’s all about people and their own goodwill.”
For more information, visit soles4good.org or find the organization on Instagram at @Soles4Good.
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