The holidays came early for more than two hundred Sanchez Elementary School students last week who received new pairs of shoes through a giveaway called “On the Path to College One Step at a Time” organized by Youth Hope Summit.

The recipients, many from needy families, constituted more than half of the Sanchez Elementary student body, and were chosen through a drawing in November.

Youth Hope Summit was founded by Troy High School sophomore Amy Jang when she was in the eighth grade in 2013. The group provides assistance to low-income families.

“When you’re a little kid, having a nice new pair of shoes is a really big deal,” Jang said. “I know there are needy children all around the world, but I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children locally, so I came up with this idea.”

Sanchez Principal Alicia Rubio introduced Jang to the students who were surprised to learn that she is only 17 and still in high school. Rubio then asked them, “Do you have to be all grown up to help other people?” to which the students answered with a resounding “No!”

Students sat on the floor of the multipurpose room excitedly waiting for their names to be called by Rubio, then marched up to receive their shoes from Jang.

“Our students, families and staff greatly appreciate this generous gift,” said Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian. “We are working to develop a college-going mindset beginning in the earliest grades, and this is a great opportunity to remind students of the importance of helping others as they continue on the path to college.”

NLMUSD School Board President Karen Morrison applauded the initiative taken by Jang.

“As we prepare students academically for their futures, our District also places a high value on teaching compassion and community service,” Morrison said.

For more information, visit the organization’s website:

Photo Captions:

  1. Sanchez Elementary student after receiving her new shoes
  2. Youth Hope Founder Amy Jung (Front center) with Sanchez Elementary students at shoe give-away event
  3. Student shows new shoes