Twins put their feet down for orphans
Anna and Yelena Birt must be the envy of all the shoe shoppers out there. As of Thursday afternoon, the 12-year-old twins at South Middle School in Grand Forks had 74 pairs -- and counting. The girls have been collecting sizes from toddler to adu...
Anna and Yelena Birt must be the envy of all the shoe shoppers out there.
As of Thursday afternoon, the 12-year-old twins at South Middle School in Grand Forks had 74 pairs -- and counting.
The girls have been collecting sizes from toddler to adult since Monday to send to orphans in Africa through the ASHE' Foundation.
According to the charity's website, http://ashe.allfromghana.com , ASHE' is a Yoruba word which means "the power to make things happen," a definition not wasted on the Birt twins, who say they were influenced by the Cable News Network show "Heroes."
"My sister and I thought it was a cool idea if we could help another country," Anna said.
With their mother's help, the energetic twosome tracked down the foundation on the Internet and asked how they could help. The foundation suggested collecting shoes for orphans in South Africa. The girls distributed fliers in school classrooms and hallways asking for gently used or new shoes to be dropped off at the school's media center.
"Most of the orphans had parents who died from AIDS or HIV," said Bill Chase, school counselor, who helped the Birts organize their shoe drive. "The girls have good hearts and are just excited to do it."
Through their initial efforts and contributions from employees at their mother's workplace, the Birts contributed 34 pairs. They plan to ask local retailers for help.
"Our goal is 100 pairs (by today)" Yelena said. "If we don't meet the goal, we'll extend it until Monday."
Yelena said she's been a regular viewer of CNN since the Gulf oil spill; Anna said she watches to follow health care reform. Anna said they were recently watching a CNN production called "Refuge," which showed children lining up to get into an orphanage. Anna heard something that further inspired both of them.
"Just because there are a thousand starfish on the beach doesn't mean you have to save all of them," Anna said. "That means helping one or two could change someone's life."
Shoes may be dropped off through the main office at South Middle School, 1999 47th Ave. S.
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