Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Tuesday,
Sep 02nd

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

Olmert retrial in Talansky Affair begins

Marcy Oster Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went on trial for the second time in the Talansky Affair, the bribery case which led to his resignation in 2008. ... [Link]

Parents, teachers protest division of secular school for haredi girls

Marcy Oster Parents and teachers at a secular public school in Beit Shemesh are protesting the partitioning of half of the building for a haredi Orthodox girls’ school. ... [Link]

Lady Gaga pre-Tel Aviv concert ‘Shalom’ video irks some Arab fans

Marcy Oster Lady Gaga apparently riled some Arab fans with a short video in advance of her Tel Aviv performance featuring a “Shalom” greeting. ... [Link]

Jewish community praises Greek mayor for yellow star protest

Marcy Oster The mayor of the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki wore a yellow Star of David at his inauguration to protest a newly elected city councilman from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. ... [Link]

Syrian rebels make demands for release of Golan U.N. peacekeepers

Marcy Oster Syrian rebels have issued a list of demands for the release of U.N. peacekeepers stationed on the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel. ... [Link]

Eric Cantor joining Wall Street investment bank

Marcy Oster Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader, is joining a Wall Street investment bank as vice chairman and managing director. ... [Link]

Police ends search for terrorist infiltrator in central Israel

Marcy Oster Police set up roadblocks in central Israel following intelligence information that a Palestinian terrorist may have infiltrated Israel near Netanya. ... [Link]

Blockers and tacklers: Jewish gridders gearing up for NFL campaign

mbrodsky Blocking brothers and a fullback who hasn’t had a carry in four seasons are among the Jewish players on NFL rosters as the league kicks off this week. ... [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