Drive provides shoes for Dominican Republic

A young boy is fitted for shoes in 2016.  Junior Xiomara Nieves will return to the Blanco Arriba, Dominican Republic on March 11 to distribute more shoes.

photo by Xiomara Nieves

A young boy is fitted for shoes in 2016. Junior Xiomara Nieves will return to the Blanco Arriba, Dominican Republic on March 11 to distribute more shoes.

Jeannie Williams, Editor-in-Chief

With three duffel bags stuffed with shoes, junior Xiomara Nieves set off for the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, March 8.  The 95 shoes she carried with her were donated by her classmates to be given to children in Blanco Arriba, Dominican Republic.

Two years ago, instead of a traditional Quinceañera, Nieves decided she wanted people to donate shoes for kids in the Dominican Republic, where her parents are from.

“My parents being immigrants, I knew life wasn’t always that easy, and for others it’s not as easy as we have it,” Nieves said. “I thought that the best thing I could do was give back to those who need it, so that sparked my idea about my shoe drive.”

Last time, it took Nieves a year to organize, collect and transport the shoes, but it only took her three months this time.  The shoes will fly down with her as checked baggage, and will then be transported on mules through the mountains to where they will be distributed on Saturday, March 11.

With the shoes, Nieves brings handwritten notes from Spanish teacher Patricia Lopez’s AP Spanish classes.  Lopez also supported the project by offering extra credit to students who donated shoes.

“She really has touched the hearts of her fellow students with this project,” Lopez said.

Nieves hopes to continue this project in the future by taking shoes to Thailand and one day start her own non-profit organization.  Until then, there is a possibility that the Spanish Honor Society will permanently adopt her project as part of their community service fulfillments.

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