Soles Shaping Souls: How a teenager from Lithia is building her nonprofit to purchase shoes for students in need
No matter your age, you can always make a big impact.
Newsome High School student, Camden Grant is just 14 years old, but she’s already changing the world, one “sole” at a time!
It started last year, when she was a student at Randall Middle School. Camden would volunteer to read books to first graders at B.T. Washington Elementary.
She couldn’t help but notice many students had worn out shoes. That’s what prompted her to start a shoe drive program called “Soles Shaping Souls”.
“I wanted to make a difference, so I started a GoFundMe with a goal to raise $2,500,” she said.
Donations poured in, with Camden raising $7,000. She was able to purchase 150 shoes for the first and second graders at B.T. Washington.
For many students, it was the first time they owned a brand new pair of shoes.
Third-grader Keira Jackson calls her pink and gray sneakers her “lucky shoes”.
“She didn’t have to do that but she wanted to be nice and give us all shoes,” said Keira. “I love my shoes and I never want to take them off. Sometimes, I try to sleep with them but my mom would take them off”.
In order to make her program grow and raise more funds, Camden would need to start a 501 c3 nonprofit but the journey hasn’t been easy.
That’s where Jessica Rivelli comes in. She’s a businesswoman who started the Working Woman of Tampa Bay Foundation, which helps women network in order to achieve success and find business opportunities.
Rivelli helped connect Camden with a woman in her network to help set up her nonprofit “Soles Shaping Souls.”
“I want to make it bigger to make more students lives better,” said Camden. “I just want to make more people happy.”
Students like Keira who first received the shoes, also wish her much success in starting her organization.
“I want other kids to be happy and feel good like I did with my new shoes,” she said.
Camden wants to help all the students at B.T. Washington before moving to other schools in Hillsborough County.
You can follow all of Camden’s adventures on Instagram – @solesshapingsouls
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