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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Anne Nygard

Anne Nygard

Boise, Idaho

Anne Nygard, 17, of Boise, Idaho, a member of Girl Scouts of Silver Sage and a junior at Boise Senior High School, has collected more than 300 pairs of gently-used running shoes for refugee students in her city, and hosted events to distribute the shoes and teach the recipients about running. Anne traces her concern for refugees to an event she attended when she was 9. “To this day, I remember the tears of many of these people from the Congo and Vietnam as they told their stories,” she said. “Those who come here have fled horrors that we hope to never experience in our lives. I believe the least we can do is be kind to them.”

A cross-country runner throughout junior high and high school, Anne was well aware that distance runners go through running shoes quickly, and then throw them into the trash. “But they are still in excellent condition for lighter running,” she said. Seeing an opportunity, Anne decided to start collecting these slightly worn shoes and distribute them to refugees in her community. She planned shoe drives and publicized them on social media and through fliers and advertisements that she created. She also contacted refugee organizations and schools with refugee programs to get them involved. At the events she hosts, Anne lets refugee kids pick out the shoes they want, explains the rewards of running, and talks about the running programs at their schools. Anne now conducts her philanthropic activities through her own nonprofit, “Running for Refugees.”