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vAIMEE continued from page 5 their project with the school year schedule in mind. She also wants to assure that she has time to focus solely on the shoe distribution without any other disruptions. Having now delivered 5,000-6,000 total pairs of shoes, she explains her mixed emotions on distribution days. “It makes me feel sad and happy at the same time.” Though the gloomy moods and dreary scenery of the places she travels make her feel down, she catches the contagious happiness from those receiving new shoes. She’s always surprised by the appreciative reaction she receives when delivering the shoes, many recipients telling her thank you and giving her hugs. She recollected her most heartwarming gift. When they were at a distribution in Santee, a lady assisting them that day told Aimee that she had a gift for her. Aimee followed the woman to her car, where she was presented with a star quilt. The kind young lady explained the significance of the quilt: when a star quilt is presented to you from a tribe member, that means that you are considered part of their family. “I sleep with it every night, it warms my heart,” she beams. She encourages others to consider donating to the program. “If you donate the shoes, you have this warm feeling in your heart, that you’re helping somebody. When you give somebody something and they love it, that makes you want to do it more and more.” The young girl has been noticed by some local news stations. After her story aired, she was contacted by people from California, Maryland and New York about donating shoes and has since received donations outside of her home state. Aimee’s project has helped her become efficient in organization and time management. Along with school and her shoe project, she participates in band, orchestra, soccer, softball and dance. Dance is her biggest passion, she explained, she’s been doing it for several years. She has plans to continue her project provided she is able to find time to commit. Listening to her tell her story was extremely heartwarming to me and she had me captivated with her ambition and compassion. When Aimee and her dad left, I told her story to my husband and tears started to roll down my cheeks. I was moved by how such a young girl could have so much consideration for others and the unselfish spirit to make such a big impact on so many people. Aimee’s Shoes accepts new and gently used shoes, most in need of children’s and baby’s shoes and explained that gently used shoes are often in higher demand than the new shoes. To donate, you can go to her Facebook page, ‘Aimee’s Shoes’, and private message them. They will contact you back about your donation. During the fall season, they often have donation collections at specified churches in the community. They will post this information on their Facebook page. Aesop once stated, “No kind act, however small, is ever wasted.” This compassionate young lady has made a difference in the lives of so many. Though she’s small in stature, she’s enormous at heart and serves as a remarkable role model for our community, showing how one small act can light a trail of kindness. vBy Julie Eickhoff HERVOICEvJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018v9

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