St. Nicholas student starts sports-shoe drive

Courtesy of Julie Eng
Lauren Kiachian, seventh-grader at St. Nicholas School and founder of L.A.C.E.S., and Jeff Maier, sports director at the El Camino YMCA in Mountain View, teamed up to collect used sports shoes for children in need.

Knowing that children often outgrow their expensive sports shoes before they wear them out, St. Nicholas School seventh-grader Lauren Kiachian organized a shoe drive to help those in need.

While attending her brother’s soccer game last fall, Lauren noticed the opposing team sliding around the field because some of the players didn’t have proper cleats. She thought about how often she and her brother outgrew their sports shoes while they were still in good condition and devised a plan to hold a youth sports-shoe drive and donate the shoes to charities and nonprofit groups for distribution to children around the Bay Area who otherwise might not be able to afford the proper sports footwear.

Lauren teamed up with Jeff Maier, sports director at the El Camino YMCA in Mountain View, to found L.A.C.E.S. (Let All Children Enjoy Sports). They arranged for a L.A.C.E.S. drive that coincided with the YMCA Youth Basketball League’s annual team photos. During that event, Lauren collected 62 pairs of sports shoes that were distributed to children in need in the Bay Area.

L.A.C.E.S. has scheduled a series of upcoming drives. Families with youth sports shoes in reasonably good condition may donate them at scheduled collections: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 18 at the Los Altos High School baseball field, 201 Almond Ave.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Mountain View Sports Pavilion, 1185 Castro St., Mountain View; and noon to 5 p.m. March 15 at the El Camino YMCA, 2400 Grant Road, Mountain View.

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