Kwadwo Bonsu, a liberal arts major specializing in international studies at the Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, is doing his part to end poverty around the world by collecting gently used shoes through the global charity Soles4Souls.
Soles4Souls is a not-for-profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. The organization was founded as a disaster relief organization after philanthropists and shoe executives provided footwear to individuals impacted by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Currently, Bonsu has collected approximately 900 pairs of shoes of all styles and sizes from NOVA-Woodbridge students, faculty and staff.
With plans to transfer to Liberty University in 2017 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in international relations, Bonsu moved to the United States from Ghana in 2012. His desire to help the less fortunate stems from his future goal to work with a humanitarian organization.
“I discovered that I found joy in doing this,” Bonsu said. “This initiative reminded me of living and being in school back home in Ghana. Apart from studying, I’m very active in playing sports, but I wanted to do something that helped me become more involved within the community. I thought about forming a club on campus, but I figured that would take a significant amount of time to start, so I decided to do something that will make an immediate impact.”
As a 2014 Potomac High School graduate, Bonsu said he has already received interest from other NOVA students to assist him with separating, gathering and storing all shoe donations on campus prior to sending them to the Soles4Souls Chantilly location. Shoe donations at the Woodbridge Campus will be accepted until Dec. 16.
“There are a lot of people who have shoes they are not using or don’t need anymore, and I realized that I was one of those people too,” Bonsu said. “I did my research to find organizations that collected old shoes for people in need, and I chose Soles4Soles. “When I started making and posting flyers around campus, I realized that you have to start with the small things in order to make a huge difference.”
In addition to the Woodbridge Campus, shoe donations can be dropped off at the following locations: The North Face store at Potomac Mills mall, New Balance Factory Store at Potomac Mills, CrossFit Woodbridge and CrossFit 703 in Dumfries, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Anytime Fitness in Dumfries and World Gym in Dale City.
Since 2006, Soles4Souls has collected and distributed 26 million pairs of shoes to those in need in 127 countries around the world and all 50 states in the U.S. For additional information on Soles4Souls visit their website.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.