Do you know the feeling when you place new athletic shoes on your feet? Somehow the new shoes make you feel like you can run faster, be stronger, and accomplish more.Sixteen year-olds Ansley Rikard and Emily Wakeman understand that feeling, and they want students at Brookstone School to have an opportunity to experience those feelings, too.Ansley and Emily, sophomores at SouthLake Christian Academy, have wanted to start a charity for the past two years. With the help of their parents, Kicks for Kids was born.“We wanted to encompass our love for athletics, for helping the community, and our love for charities into one. We decided Kicks for Kids would be the best way to do this,” said Emily, who lives with her family in the Emerald Cove neighborhood in Cornelius.“Our mission is to promote health and fitness by supplying underprivileged youth in Charlotte with new athletic shoes. It is important to us that we help people in our own backyard instead of another country,” said Ansley, who lives with her family on a 14-acre farm in Hunersville.Kicks for Kids became an unincorporated nonprofit, and Ansley and Emily began brainstorming on how to raise money. They are both active in sports, including soccer, cheerleading, running and swimming. Emily’s parents are also past participants of the Jetton Park triathlons. Ansley and Emily decided that planning a 5K run would be a great way to raise funds for Kicks for Kids.On April 20, 2013, more than 120 participants supported the inaugural Kicks for Kids 5K at Jetton Park in Cornelius. More than $8,000 was raised from participation fees and sponsorships. “Because of this money, we are able to provide each of the more than 100 students at Brookstone School with a new pair of athletic shoes. We will also be able to purchase PE equipment such as jump ropes, basketballs, cones and other items,” said Ansley.Founded in 2001 to help inner-city students, Brookstone School is a K-5 faith-based school in west Charlotte. Through a partnership between Ansley and Emily’s school, SouthLake Christian, they have volunteered their time at Brookstone and plan to meet all of the students when they deliver the shoes and equipment.Donald Larson, headmaster for Brookstone School is excited about the generous gift from Kicks for Kids.“Healthy living has been a theme for this school year with our garden, health day, and classes on nutrition. Kicks for Kids has built upon this message of healthy living with our students and will help them to live a more active lifestyle with the gift of PE equipment and exercise shoes for each student,” said Larson.Ansley and Emily want to create a legacy with their nonprofit charity and continue to benefit those in need in Charlotte. “We want to continue to grow and hopefully pass it along to other students to continue once we go to college,” said Emily.
Friday, Jun. 21, 2013
SouthLake sophomores’ nonprofit gets athletic shoes for others
Jennifer Ford is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jennifer? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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