Teen's charity gives shoes to the needy

Name: Joseph Rubsamen

Age: 13

Residence: Delray Beach

Birthplace: Palm Beach

Family: Father, Patrick; mother, Merilynn; brothers, Christopher and Matthew Rubsamen

School: Unity School of Delray Beach

Organization: Shoes2You, a nonprofit started by Rubsamen that collects new and gently used shoes for adults and children. The shoes are sent to families in need in Nicaragua, Indonesia and Delray Beach.

How long have you been volunteering there?

I officially started this organization in February.

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer because I wanted to be able to help those in need get shoes.

Why did you start this organization?

I started this organization because a few years back when my family and I were traveling to Nicaragua, I saw how poor some areas of the countries were. I felt so bad for them because most of them didn't have shoes. From then on, I made a promise to myself and said, "I am going to help them all get shoes." I felt the same way when I traveled a couple of years ago to Bali, Indonesia. I also wanted to help my local community in donating shoes to the Delray Beach Health Department

Describe your volunteer role.

Unity School helped me launch my organization by allowing me to collect shoes there for a two-week period. I continue to receive shoes almost every week.

What challenges have you faced?

Figuring out how to pay for transporting the shoes and storing the shoes until delivery.

What does your organization need?

I would like to see my organization go into other schools in order to collect more shoes for people in need. Shoes2you can benefit from having underwriters help pay the expenses of storing the shoes and transporting the shoes to other countries.

Is there a moment that stands out that made you think, "This is why I volunteer?"

Yes because of the wonderful friends, children and families that helped support my launch at Unity School and their enthusiasm for my project. Another memorable event is having my family and friends help me distribute some of the shoes and to see the children and families' joyful faces after receiving the shoes. I also have been so lucky to have people at Rancho Santana and Popoyo Surf Lodge deliver shoes to the Nicaraguan communities and Education Rocks deliver to school children in specific areas of Bali.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I will be collecting shoes year-round, but my main collection will be annually at Unity School in the spring. You can also contact me for questions or donations at shoes2youorganization@gmail.com.

If you know a Palm Beach County resident who deserves recognition for volunteer work, email the information to tan90210@aol.com. Nominations should include volunteer's name, city of residence, a contact name and phone number, and a brief description of why this person deserves special recognition.

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