High School Sophomores Create Non-Profit to Benefit Children in Need
January 31, 2018
Sole Bros, a non-profit organization founded and run by five 15-year-old high school sophomores, has been awarded 4C for Children's Champions for Children: the Next Generation Award.
The award, sponsored by Schueler Group, honors high school students in grades 9-12 who are taking action on behalf of the children of our community.
Sole Bros was founded in 2015 with the mission of collecting, reconditioning and giving gently used quality sneakers to children in need across the globe. Over the past two years, more than 3,000 sneakers have been delivered by Sole Bros to impoverished areas of Jamaica and Ghana as well as to Houston and Beaumont, Texas, following devastating flooding that occurred after Hurricane Harvey.
Members of the group attend several different high schools throughout the Cincinnati region. Breiland Anderson attends Lakota West High School; Spencer Boyd II and Curtis Harrison IV both attend the Seven Hills School; Kellen Newman attends St. Xavier; and Eric Thompson Jr. attends La Salle.
Kellen Newman summed up how he and his partners want their organization to be seen by their peers. "We want our inspiration to spread like wildfire. You are never too young to make a difference. Some people believe that our generation is lost. We're not lost, we just seek to be inspired. That's what we want to do for the next generation."
The boys have grown their organization by creating partnerships with other businesses and organizations, both local and national. A partnership with DHL allows the Sole Bros to ship shoes across the globe for free and local partnerships have allowed the boys to set up collection bins at various locations throughout the city. Twice a year, they also organize fundraisers to help support the organization.
"They are all very different from one another but it's really amazing to see how they complement each other in ways that make this a successful mission-driven business," says Jackie Taggart-Boyd, mother to Spencer. "Business, networking and heart are specific gifts each brings to the work. Through those gifts they have grown Sole Bros and continue to lift each other up and challenge each other."
In presenting the award to each of the members of the group, 4C CEO/President Vanessa Freytag paid tribute to the boys' inspiring work. "I have no doubt after seeing the five of you and seeing what you have done that you have had some wonderful supporters in your life, especially early on-parents, teachers and child care providers!"
In addition to their work with Sole Bros, the sophomores are accomplished students and athletes. They plan to continue expanding the organization's reach over the next two years as they complete high school and prepare for college and future careers.
The work and impact of Sole Bros mission will be celebrated at the 4C Champions for Children Gala presented by PNC on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the JACK Cincinnati Casino.
Pictured above: Members of Sole Bros join with 4C and The Schueler Group representatives following the youth award presentation. Pictured are: (back row, from left) Spencer Boyd II, Curtis Harrison and Kellen Newman. (Front row, from left) Breiland Anderson; Christy Stockton, 4C Gala chairperson; Vanessa Freytag, 4C CEO/president; Margaret Drexel, Schueler Group and Eric Thompson Jr.