Every semester at Franklin High School, seniors are required to complete a project on an approved topic. Students must write a research paper, make a presentation board and present an eight-minute speech in front of a panel of judges before they are permitted to graduate.
FHS senior Maddie Brown decided to work with Sole Hope, an organization which is comprised of passionate, committed people who work toward putting closed-toed shoes on African children, one pair at a time. “Choosing to do Sole Hope for my senior project was the wisest decision I could have made,” said Brown. “It gave me a chance to spread God’s love while helping others, it was my ministry!”
The organization was started by Asher Collie, who was compelled to do something after a chance encounter with a YouTube video. The video showed children in Africa who were contracting fatal diseases from not having proper shoes. The video led Collie and other volunteers out of their comfort zones, and to villages in Uganda and Zambia. Sole Hope is known worldwide and volunteers work tirelessly to help children in Africa.
“Sole Hope came to my church a few months ago and showed us a video and invited us to a shoe party they were having the next day,” explained Brown. “It really touched my heart and I instantly knew that I wanted to be more involved.”
The organization hosts “shoe parties” to make the shoes and to teach the children about the importance of wearing shoes. The inside of the shoes are made from soft, durable material similar to cotton fabric and the top part of the shoe is made from durable cloth, usually denim or upholstery fabric. The steps in making the shoes are fairly simple, which allows families to continue making shoes after Sole Hope concludes their trips to Africa.
As a part of her senior project, Brown worked with the Sole Hope team to organize shoe parties at Franklin High School, and collect old blue jeans and cotton upholstery fabric that can be recycled and reused to construct the shoes. After a long semester of hard work, Brown’s Sole Hope project was a huge success, and the FHS senior was able to make 110 shoes for the organization. The shoes made within the Macon County community will travel with Sole Hope volunteers to Africa and be distributed to children in need.
“We easily had 10 different shoe making sessions, and it was possible because of all the wonderful helping hands from friends, classmates, church members and the community, Thank you so much to everyone who helped with the effort!,” said Brown.” I would also like to thank Sole Hope, for being so helpful and understanding. Asher Collie, the CEO of Sole Hope, is a true role model for myself and growing Christian girls everywhere. Thank you to everyone who donated blue jeans, plastic bottles and money. My school was also very supportive, it was awesome to walk down the hall and be stopped by teachers asking if they could have a shoe party in their class that day., my answer was always absolutley!”
“I am so grateful for my parents who allowed me to keep so many pairs of blue jeans in the closet and bags of plastic soda bottles on the porch! The biggest thank you goes to my mentor, Katy Huscusson. She was so patient, so kind and generous with her time.,” said Brown. “And I can not forget my incredible, groovy Honors English teacher Mrs. Allen! Thank you for keeping us in line, answering any questions we asked and supporting your students 100%. You made my senior year memorable!”