St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West Puts Shoe on Other Foot

After hearing a presentation from local philanthropist Funwi Tita, students at the middle school decided to “make a difference” of their own.

Students have used the last two weeks to put the shoe on the other foot–quite literally.

After hearing from Funwi Tita, founder and chief of “Making a Difference International,” a group that delivers shoes to children and adults in Uganda and other African nations, the students were challenged to see what they could do to make a difference themselves.

“We started the drive prior to Funwi’s visit, and when he came we had collected 927 pairs of shoes, and about $260 from a doughnut sale,” said teacher Michelle Heizelman, a teacher at the school and coordinator of the shoe drive. “I think with all of the many tragedies our community has faced this year, the school drive has given the students something more positive to focus on. It’s a way for them to help others.”

Heizelman told the students if they could bring in more than 2,400 pairs of shoes (three pairs for each student at the school) and raise money to buy even more, she would dye her hair pink.

Monday, Heizelman greeted students at the school with a sandwich board reading “Thanks for your donation,” and had a pink head of hair.

InSPArations salon in Albertville helped out with the hair coloring, she said.

The students collected more than 3,100 pairs of shoes (3,000 actual pair and enough money to buy 120 more). One student, Ashley Carlson, brought in more than 100 herself.

“Her mom said ‘She has a big heart.’ I think that’s an understatement,” Heizelman said.

All of the students from MS West won a prize donated by Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

Making a Difference International is still in need of the public’s help. Tita needs funding for both a new location to store his donated items, and money to help ship the shoes and clothing he collects each “rummage sale season” from donors to Uganda and other countries.

For more information, check out the website, or some of the other articles we’ve published about Tita on St. Michael Patch.

Jim Thorp April 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Good job, STMA-MSW!
Maris Ehlers April 19, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Kids simply have the best hearts. Way to go!
April April 20, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Way to to STMA middle school west! It is sooo good to see young people make a difference! Mrs. Heizelman's hair ROCKS!!! :)


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