Region 8 eighth grader collecting shoes for less fortunate

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – There are many things in our lives we take for granted like a roof over our heads, food on the table and shoes on our feet.  A student at Annie Camp Junior High School is working to collect shoes.

"We don't know that feeling of not having a pair of shoes," said Mary Agnes Reding.

While we don't know that feeling, others in the world do.  That's why Annie Camp 8th grader Mary Agnes Reding is trying to make a difference one pair of shoes at a time.

"I'm a runner and I have lots of shoes, as do many of my friends.  I just thought it would be a good way to give back," said Reding.

Reding is part of the East Lab program at her school.  She and other students are responsible for coming up with their own projects and work as a team to accomplish their goals.

"We just come up with projects on our own to help our community, world or school ," said Reding.

Instructor Chris Hicks said the sky is the limit for his students.

"I don't care if my kids want to cure world hunger.  If they can bring me a project that says, 'We can cure world hunger and this is how we do it,' I'm going to back them 100%," said teacher Chris Hicks.

Reding is working with Soles 4 Souls, an organization that collects shoes and ships them to those in need.

"It makes me feel really great that I'm giving someone something that I never know what the feeling like it is to not have," said Reding>

The first event where shoes will be collected is this weekend at the Heart and Sole 5-k.

"I'm going to have a box set up by a table and I would like people to donate their gently worn or new shoes," said Reding.

Taking on a project like this one from start to finish gives students skills many work years to learn.

"When they get out of school they're going to have knowledge and skills that even people inside the industries sometimes don't have," said Hicks.

That's why doing something like collecting shoes is important.     

"At the race on Saturday there's supposed to be 700 to 800 people so I know I'm going to get a good turnout," said Reding.

There are a lot of other projects the East Lab students at Annie Camp Junior High School are working on.

One group has teamed up with the city council to put on a "Helping Hands Music Festival" as part of a Bar-b-que Run and Fun Festival in Jonesboro.  The students are responsible for auditioning bands, making a commercial and running the event.  Another group has joined with a local church to collect school supplies to send to Kenya.  As part of the class and the East lab experience, students get to work with all sorts of technology.  One group is using that technology to build a 3-D tour of the school.

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