Kicks for CALI
East Coast Helping West Coast

Thanks to Michael Russo, a junior at North Shore High School, students of Paradise High School in California who recently lost their homes and were devastated by the recent wildfires will have sneakers to wear this holiday season.

After seeing Paradise High School athletes speak on the news after one of the NFL games a few weeks ago, Michael said, “It motivated me to think about how I could help them, especially being a high school student myself. They were talking about all that they lost, and that they were worried about some of their friends having to move to different towns. They expressed that their lives have changed so quickly and many of them are now homeless living in tents.” Michael continued, “It really made me feel bad. So, I googled their school, ‘Paradise HS’, and emailed the athletic director. She told me the name of the shelters to look into and I found a wish list on one of the websites, which listed ‘SNEAKERS’ as an item. Since I run track for North Shore, I knew that I could probably start a collection, asking my teammates to donate their unwanted, gently used sneakers.”

With the help of Principal Albert Cousins, Athletic Director Mr. Don Lang, and his coaches, the “Kicks for CALI” fundraiser grew. “They helped me spread the word about my cause,” said Michael. “We sent out the fliers to the District, and from there, it really exploded due to the generosity of the North Shore High School students and the community! SO many students donated. The collection I have to send to California is really amazing! Additionally, the North Shore Schools Transportation Department took a collection and bought 40 pairs of brand new sneakers for this cause. I now have over 500 pairs!”

On Monday, December 17th, Michael and his family successfully shipped over 12 huge boxes of sneakers, by shoe size, to The Hope Center in Oroville, California. He concluded by saying, “I’m really thankful for my high school and the community for supporting me and this idea. It feels really good to help these students/athletes even in this small way, especially during the holidays.”

Article by Shelly Newman with assistance from Michael and the Russo Family
Photos by the Russo Family and Shelly Newman

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