Brenda Woody’s third-grade class at Casas Christian School proudly displays the more than 200 pairs of shoes they have collected to donate to the Soles4Souls, a program aimed at getting shoes to those in need in third-world countries. Thelma Grimes/The Explorer

The students of Brenda Woody’s third-grade class are looking to the community for support after a successful drive to gather shoes to send to third-world countries.

The project began after the students of the Casas Christian School read “Beatrice’s Goat,” a story about a Ugandan girl who received a goat, which made it possible for her to go to school.

Woody said she focuses a lot of her teaching around problem-based situations that may require a solution from a variety of situations and subjects. In this case, the students worked to solve a problem based on information in the story.

By doing research at home and in-class discussions, Woody’s third-graders quickly learned that more than 300 million children worldwide have never owned a pair of shoes.

The ensuing infections and foot problems prevent these children from attending school.

Taking this information, the students then conducted more research, and each one of them presented a plan to help the


After all the proposals were submitted, the class voted on the top four. They included participating in such nationwide programs as Soles4Souls, Samaritan’s Purse, Change Exchange and a Better Footprint.

Sticking with the shoe theme, the students first tried to participate in the Better Footprint program, but after running into several obstacles, they found that Soles4Souls was a better fit for their goal of getting shoes on the feet of those in need.

After putting out a notice to the school, the students quickly started receiving donations. The students have collected 208 pairs of shoes.

Woody said that’s when the students came across the next problem in the process – Each pair of shoes costs $1 to ship.

Undeterred, the students came up with another solution to raise the money locally through donations and by holding a garage sale on April 23.

Woody said she is impressed with how the students embraced the project as their own.

“I told them we could probably get UPS or some other place to just donate the money we needed to ship the shoes,” she said. “But they didn’t want to take the easy way out. They wanted to come up with the solution.”

The students have planned a garage sale combined with a bike wash and a lemonade, hot chocolate, donut and water sale. The event will be held at the Casas Christian School, located at 10801 N. La Cholla, between 6 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

Woody said getting the shoes to those in need has become a service project centered around lessons from the Bible with a service emphasis.

“I think as students they really were surprised to learn most kids in other countries don’t even get to go to school,” Woody said. “It made them more respectful of giving, and helped them get a view of how the rest of the world works. It really gives us a sense of respect for the blessings we have.”

Knowing that people of all ages will get a pair of shoes because of their efforts makes third-grader Hannah Petersavage feel good.

“When you are helping others you are helping God, and that makes me joyful,” she said.

Jason Tillman said he feels good knowing that the shoes they are donating might help one or more students somewhere get to school.

“Without shoes a lot of kids get infections or have other problems, and they don’t go to school because it’s such a long walk,” he said.

Erik Lemos said the focus should be on helping others because “God ordered all his followers to help those in need.”

The third-graders didn’t stop with Soles4Souls. Expanding on the project, the students are also taking part in the Change Exchange program, which helps children in Africa get school supplies.

Students earn points by emailing, writing or calling family members and friends about the program, reading books about Africa, or donating supplies such as pencils.

Working independently, the students have accumulated hundreds of points, which are matched by the Change Exchange program.

Kaytlin Helmandollar donated pencils, read a book and sent the information in six Easter cards to earn 75 points. Isabele Steele donated pencils, read a book and emailed 10 people about the program for 33 points, while Emma Erickson wrote 22 letters and donated pencils to earn 36 points.

For more information on the program, Woody can be contacted at 331-2347 or by email at


If you go

What: Sale & Bike Wash, conducted by Casas Christian School 3rd-graders

Why: To help buy shoes for kids in need

When: 6 a.m.-noon, Saturday, April 23

Where: Casas Christian School,

10801 N. La Cholla Blvd.


Reporter Thelma Grimes can be reached at 797-4384 or by email at


(2) comments


The sale will NOT be at the school. The garage sale is at 1536 W. Sage Brooke Ct. Oro Valley 85737


Another change.....the sale will be at the school!

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