Kendra Wessels wants to change the world – one shoe at a time.
Wessels, a junior at Airline High School, is on a mission to place shoes on the feet of every individual in Bossier City through Faithful Footwear, a project she created that collects and distributes donated shoes of every size, style and color to those in need.
“I'm just a teenage girl with dreams to change the world and make a difference along the way,” she said.
Wessels said she felt drawn to the ministry last December, but didn't find her calling until the start of the new year. She did some research online and found Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes and distributes them to people in need around the world.
Through the help of her parents, Ken and Kay Wessels, and Josh Beasley, director of youth ministries at Asbury United Methodist Church, Wessels said her project has really taken off.
“I wasn't sure what I wanted to do at first so I prayed about it a lot,” she said. “When I found Soles4Souls, I knew right away this was what I needed to do for our area.”
Wessels said her first goal is to collect enough shoes to put on the feet of children in the Bossier School System. However, her dreams reach far beyond the parish and state lines.
“This is just starting out, but I want it to go far,” she said. “I have this crazy dream that not just our city, our state, our country, but everyone in our entire world will one day all own a pair of shoes.”
Faithful Footwear is not a school related project, but Wessels said the Bossier School System has been open and helpful to her mission. She has placed collection barrels at Stockwell Place Elementary, Cope Middle School and Airline High school as well as her church, Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City.
Wessels' said it's easy for the community to get involved – donate shoes you don't wear anymore.
She is also selling t-shirts and bracelets to purchase socks to go along with the donated shoes.
To date, Wessels said she has collected almost $1,000 through t-shirt and bracelet sales.
T-shirts, available in youth and adult sizes in three colors, are $15 each or $40 for three. Bracelets are $5 each or free with the donation of three pairs of shoes.