Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Friday,
Aug 22nd

Rhode Island teen fills big shoes

E-mail Print PDF

Nicholas Lowinger, 16, helps a child pick out some shoes, thanks to the Gotta Have Foundation.WASHINGTON — Nicholas Lowinger was five years old when his mother took him to play with some children living in a nearby Rhode Island homeless shelter.

Despite being so young, he soon noticed that many of the children were wearing shoes that were either too big or too small, were falling apart or had to be shared with someone else.

“I knew I had to do something more,” Lowinger said, recalling how he donated his own gently worn shoes.

In 2010, Lowinger had his chance when tasked with coming up with a service project in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah.

He started raising money and collecting new footwear to donate to children living in local shelters.

His efforts would evolve into a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization, the Gotta Have Sole Foundation, which has raised $250,000 and given new shoes to 15,000 children in 35 states.

The organization also widened its scope recently with two new projects that include providing veterans living at or below the poverty line with gift cards to footwear retailers and donating new athletic shoes to children from disadvantaged homes.

For his work with Gotta Have Soul, Lowinger, 16, a sophomore at the Wheeler School in Providence, was awarded the DillerTeen Tikkun Olam Award in 2013.

He hopes to expand the reach of the organization’s work to all 50 states by the time he graduates from high school.

“To know that I can have that kind of an effect and change someone’s life for the better, it’s an amazing feeling,” Lowinger said. “All of us [at Gotta Have Sole] are making this difference.”

JTA: Who or what have been the biggest influences in your life so far?

Lowinger: My mother has had a huge influence on my life because I never would have known about this issue. She’s an amazing woman. Her heart is very big and she’s always helping others. It’s rubbed off on me because it’s a big part of my life.

What’s your favorite Jewish food?

I’ve always really liked brisket. My grandmother always makes brisket for the [Jewish] holidays. It makes me think of family and being together. It’s not just delicious but also has sentimental meaning.

If you could have lunch or coffee with anyone and tell him or her about Gotta Have Sole, who would it be?

Michelle Obama because of her Let’s Move campaign and the important connection to children’s health.

What do you think you want to be doing when you “grow up,” or what would you like to be doing professionally in 10 years?

I’d like to go into law. I think it’s a great field for me. I’m on the debate team at school, and I love history.

What advice would you give to other teens who want to come up with a service project for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Find something that you are passionate about and come up with an idea. Take action. It doesn’t matter how big it is.

This interview is part of a series on Jewish teen spearheading community service projects. Read the other interviews in the series with Zak Kukoff, Dalya Romaner, Daniel Rosenthal, Olivia Kessler and Matthew Baratz.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 June 2014 03:51 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

CBS to adapt British sitcom about Jewish family

Ben Sales CBS will adapt a British sitcom about a Jewish family, called “Friday Night Dinner.” ... [Link]

British Jewish human rights activist Helen Bamber dies

Ben Sales Jewish Human rights activist Helen Bamber, who founded organizations to help victims of torture and violence, has died at 89. ... [Link]

Ontario students’ organization passes BDS resolution

Ben Sales The Canadian Federation of Students’ Ontario branch unanimously passed a resolution to boycott Israel. ... [Link]

Poll: 75 percent of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage

Ben Sales Three-quarters of Israeli Jews and nearly two-thirds of Israeli Arabs would not marry someone from a different religion, according to a poll. ... [Link]

Colleges truncate programs in Israel, West Bank due to conflict

Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA) — Several colleges have pulled students out early from summer study-abroad programs in Israel and the West Bank due to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Other programs have c... [Link]

US, EU push for UN cease-fire resolution as rockets and airstrikes continue

Ben Sales Exchanges of Hamas rockets and Israeli airstrikes continued as the United States and European Union pushed for a United Nations Security Council resolution to end the fighting. ... [Link]

Sex and the centenarian

Talia Lavin Shirley Zussman, at 100 years old, is still an actively practicing sex therapist in Manhattan. ... [Link]

Elsewhere: In-laws and Israel, Jewish grandma mayor, the new Anti-Semitism

Talia Lavin JTA rounds up noteworthy items from the Web. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com