Madison Tatinski, 11, of Pueblo West, Colo., a fifth-grader at Corwin International Magnet School, has collected more than 700 pairs of shoes for children in need in Colorados Pueblo County, Montana, Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala. After attending a church meeting that featured a discussion of children living in impoverished circumstances around the world, I decided I wanted to make a difference for children, said Madison. So when her family asked Madison what she wanted for Christmas, she asked for shoes she could donate to other children. I am so blessed, and there are so many children that do not own a pair of shoes, she said.
The following April, she set out to collect 100 pairs of shoes for her birthday. She asked area businesses to help, distributed posters and collection boxes at local establishments, set up a Facebook page to promote her mission, and benefited from an article in a local newspaper. Hundreds of pairs of shoes flowed in. Madison shipped many of them to an orphanage in Mexico, an Indian reservation in Montana, and to children in Guatemala and Ecuador. The majority went to the Pueblo Cooperative Care Center, which provides food, clothing and other assistance to local families in need. Madison also secured a $1,500 grant she used to buy 146 pairs of shoes, hosted a holiday open house that yielded 150 pairs of shoes, and collected seven large trash bags full of shoes and work boots through a recent speaking engagement. In addition, she volunteers regularly in the clothing section of the Pueblo care center.