Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on March 22th, 2016
Nick Lowinger: An 18-year-old high school student whose volunteer foundation has donated 45,000 pair of shoes to homeless shelter children in 43 U.S. states.

Nick Lowinger
Nick Lowinger  
Photo: Alex Gagne

This is a remarkable story, almost unbelievable, yet it is true.

When Nick was just 5 years old, his mother took him with her when she visited a local Rhode Island homeless shelter.

As he showed the children there his new shoes with their flashing lights, he saw that many children had worn out shoes, poorly fitting shoes or no shoes at all.

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This image stayed in his mind and at the age of 12, Nick started what would become the Gotta Have Sole Foundation and began working with homeless shelters and with top shoe manufacturers to provide the children with shoes.

Those shoe manufacturers include Nike and Sketchers.

Nick, and what is now 4,000 other volunteers, communicate with the homeless shelter staff to obtain the children's names, gender and shoe sizes.

Gotta Have Sole then fills those orders from shoe manufacturers which donate shoes, or from school footwear drives or individual shoe donors.

When necessary, Gotta Have Sole also buys shoes at a discount using the tax deductible donated funds its 501 (c) (3) Foundation has received.

What kind of impact do those shoes make?

Nick Lowinger
Nick Lowinger  

Consider that the families in homeless shelters have lost nearly everything they owned.

Sometimes the children can't go to school because they have no shoes or they share shoes with a sibling, and can go to school only when it's their turn to wear the shoes.

"[For] these kids, it's like Christmas," said Morgan Taylor of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix. "They get so excited. It is exactly in their size and the type of shoe they requested."

"The children are beyond excited. They just hug the shoes," added Morgan.

"The younger children are usually so excited, dancing around with their new shoes." said Jennifer Watkins of Crossroads, Road Island.

"It really affects the older children because that sometimes makes a difference as to whether they can try out for basketball, soccer, track."

"We had three sisters who were track runners. These girls are now in high school, running track (two just came back from Mexico running in the Junior Olympics). Those track sneakers made a huge difference in their lives."

Meanwhile, Nick is determined to provide new shoes to children in homeless missions in all 50 states by June. As he has already accomplished the seemingly impossible, I believe he will attain this wonderful goal as well.

Success Tip of the Week: When you make a donation to a homeless shelter or to an organization such as Gotta Have Sole Foundation, you're making the world a better place.

Editor's Note: May I encourage you to watch a heartwarming CNN Heroes two-minute video of Nick. I first saw Nick's amazing story on http://www.karmatube.org/.

In the next KazanToday: A 26-year-old woman who employs 20 formerly homeless women to make coats for the homeless.

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