Today, Olivia and her family live in Florida and have set their sights high on making a difference. With her mom’s support, Olivia came up with the ideas to make a difference while engaging kids around her in a cause. She found ShoeBox Recycling and immediately found they fit the bill.
“I learned about ShoeBox Recycling and how you can do something locally to make a great change globally. So, I decided my first project would be to leave a positive footprint,” said Olivia Russo-Hood, founder of S.T.E.P. When I learned more about hundreds of millions of shoes getting landfilled each year while that same amount of people around the world didn’t have shoes and kids were dying, I just HAD to do something! The idea of MY shoes helping a child go to school and prevent illnesses or even die make this project so much more special and exciting,” continued Olivia.
When most kids are out playing or sitting in front of the television, Olivia is out giving presentations to big audiences and engaging people of all ages nationwide to join her efforts. Olivia first approached her own Four Townes YMCA, in her new hometown of Deltona, FL about the project. The Y prides itself on the pillars of Youth Development, Social Responsibility, and Healthy Living and was instantly interested in helping promote the cause.
"We knew Olivia was a special kid the day we met her,” said Jim Harris, Coordinator of Sports Programs at Four Townes YMCA. “Her passion and respect for the land around her just exudes from her in a way that makes you want to participate,”
ShoeBox Recycling is proud to be a for-profit recycler of shoes. They have flipped the recycling triangle upside down and have mastered the most powerful ‘R,’ REUSE, with all of the shoes collected destined for reuse by those in need of affordable footwear. They have humanized the process by adding the prospect of finding your SoleMate. Just like the ancient mystique of the ‘message in a bottle,’ you can trace the journey your shoes take to meet their new feet with a SoleMate note in placed your shoes. They have made a passive act of recycling interactive and intriguing.
"With our shoe recycling program, you have the chance to connect with a person anywhere around the globe over something as simple and easy as a pair of shoes you no longer wear,” said Lisa Pomerantz, Queen of Sole at ShoeBox Recycling. “We are so confident that our collaboration with Olivia and all of the good folks at Four Townes YMCA will not only yield great shoes for reuse, but will leave a positive footprint and create SoleMates all over the world.”
Olivia Russo-Hood epitomizes the junior leaders of our society today. Her passion and commitment to doing well and doing good through ShoeBox Recycling will help hundreds, maybe thousands of people to recycle their shoes, and find their SoleMates, learn about diverse cultures and help us to make the world a smaller, friendlier and greener place. Now that’s a vision even us adults can swallow. Currently, she is collecting all gently worn, reusable paired shoes at the Four Townes YMCA.
MEET OLIVIA and see the impact so many kids are making to “Leave a footprint” this Saturday, October 27, between 1-3 pm at the Y’s fall festival and youth soccer celebration. 280 Wolf Pack Run, Deltona, FL 32725. Come early and see Olivia’s last soccer game of the season from 11-12pm.
ABOUT SHOEBOX RECYCLING
ShoeBox Recycling was founded in 2011 with a mission to recycle as many pairs of shoes as possible while offering the opportunity to find your SoleMate (future happy feet) along the way. Every pair of shoes collected will be distributed for resale and reuse in their original form at various local marketplaces here and around the developing world. ShoeBox Recycling is looking to change the way people think about their shoes and the need for reuse around the globe. ShoeBox Recycling is headquartered in Fairless Hills, PA. For more information, call 888.482.5754 or visit www.shoeboxrecycling.com.
Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.) is a youth social entrepreneurship idea organizing social change. S.T.E.P. participants recognize social problems and then organize, create, and/or manage a social venture to make change. Corporate businesses typically focus on profit and return, whereas social enterprises also measure the returns to society. Currently, Olivia is partnering with peers across the nation in partnership with Shoe Box Recycling as an effort to raise awareness about this global issue, while also helping to raise funds for local charities. Neither she, nor any of the S.T.E.P. kids joining her are making or earning any money from this project. Take a stand by taking a S.T.E.P.