NORFOLK, Neb. – Individuals in developing countries are benefitting from the efforts of students at Northeast Community College.
Members of the Early Childhood Education Club conducted a shoe drive to collect donated gently worn, used and new shoes that will be sent to help needy individuals create, maintain and grow small businesses in developing countries where economic opportunity and jobs are limited. Proceeds from the sales of the shoes collected in the shoe drive will be used to feed, clothe and house their families. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti earned enough to send her son to law school.
“We are excited about our shoe drive," said Lisa Guenther, early childhood education instructor and organizer of the club. "We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets or have children who have outgrown their shoes or boots. By donating these shoes and boots, we have the chance to help families in developing nations who need economic opportunities. It's a win-win for everyone. The shoes are given a second chance and make a difference in peoples’ lives around the world.”
The Early Childhood Education Club was asked by Sara Markland of the Norfolk Elks Lodge to collect shoes. The Elks organized the effort and will complete distribution of the collected shoes from Northeast and others.
“It’s the Northeast Nebraska way to work together to help others,” Guenther said.
Early childhood education students were happy to be part of the effort to help others in need.
“It is nice to give away shoes to people from other countries who don’t have shoes,” said Tina Shank, Norfolk. “It’s nice to clean out my closet.”
Hannah Taylor, Norfolk, said, “The shoe drive can help those in poverty keep their toes warm in the winter and cool in the summer on the hot concrete.”
“The shoe drive helps the children when they are in dire need of some shoes, added Lauren Lueken, Albion. “They may tell you that they don’t want them but they really do and the shoe donation will help them tremendously.”
“This shoe drive is so important. It helps out those who are less fortunate and in need, said Emily Miller, Norfolk. A small donation of a pair of shoes means the world to those who don’t have any.”
“I gave old shoes away to help others,” said Lindsey Hoehne, Stanton.
The Early Education Club has been active in assisting groups in organizations. They have organized a diaper drive to support families who work with the Norfolk Public Schools’ Sixpence program.
Another service project of the club has been Prime Time Family Reading Time. The Humanities Nebraska sponsored program invites families to come for a meal, storytelling and book sharing for school aged children. Club members provide childcare for preschool children during the evening. Members also plan and complete book sharing and activities for the preschool children.
Northeast Community College offers two degrees through its early childhood education program to meet industry needs.
An associate of applied science (AAS) degree is designed to allow students to seek immediate employment in the early childhood workforce. Most graduates with this degree option work in early childhood facilities or home childcare settings.
The second option, the associate of arts (AA) degree transfers to four-year institutions. Students can pursue an early childhood education inclusive option, which prepares them to teach preschool through third grade. The other option is a degree in early childhood education in the family and consumer science field. Students who choose this option most often work in administration in childcare centers. Additionally, the College offers two certificates are in the program to meet industry needs.
Northeast also partners with the Council for Professional Development to offer coursework that satisfies 120 hours of professional early childhood education required for CDA® - Child Development Associate credentials. The second certificate option is the CDA certificate program. It prepares individuals to gain knowledge in four early childhood education courses. The certificate includes Safe with You training and Pediatric Basic Life Support and First Aid. This is a first step in the early childhood education profession.
Some of the members of the Northeast Community College Early Childhood Education Club pose with some of the shoes they collected that will be sent to individuals in developing countries. Pictured (from left) are Alex Guenther, Norfolk, Hannah Taylor, Norfolk, Lindsey Hoehne, Stanton, Melany Mendoza, Clearwater, Tina Shank, Norfolk, and Emily Miller, Norfolk.