Leo Club is looking for all old sneakers

By Brandon LaChance, Editor
Posted 4/9/24

AMBOY – At the beginning of March two boxes found their way into Amboy High School.

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Leo Club is looking for all old sneakers


AMBOY – At the beginning of March two boxes found their way into Amboy High School.

The rectangular containers didn’t have anything in them to start with but by the end of the school year in May, the Leo Club, the Amboy Lion’s Club and Mother Nature hope they are stuffed to the brim with donated or recycled sneakers.

“We chose this project because all of the shoes we collect will stay out of landfills and they will be used to raise funds for vision and hearing services,” said Leo Club President Elizabeth Clarida. “This project is pretty meaningful, so we want it to be ongoing to the end of the school year. It’ll give people a lot of chances to turn in their sneakers.

“Mr. (Jim) Travi, who is a long-time member of the Amboy Lion’s Club, has really helped us form the Leos Club and he encouraged us to do the Sneaker Recycling Campaign.” 

The Sneaker Recycling Campaign, a program through the Lions of Illinois Foundation and gotsneakers.com, is designed to collect sneakers to generate funds to fuel ongoing endeavors in communities and Lions Clubs and Leo Clubs while making a conscience effort to reduce thrash heighten recycling.

Through the collecting, which all shoes will be sent to the Lions of Illinois Foundation, all reusable tennis shoes will be recirculated to secondhand markets at affordable prices, while heavily used footwear will be recycled to fully benefit materials or to convert waste into energy.

The boxes in Amboy and throughout the program are only accepting tennis shoes, sneakers, kicks, gym shoes, and similar names with the same meaning. Dress shoes, rain boots, heels, stilettos, sandals, slip-ons, wedges, and work boots will not be accepted for the fundraiser.

Also, the shoes must come in a pair and the shoelaces tied together so they don’t lose their dual residency in the donation boxes.

“One of the boxes is in the front office of the high school and the other one is in Mrs. Karlson’s math classroom. Mrs. Karlson is the faculty advisor and I’m the Leo Club sponsor.” said Travi. “If people have old shoes, they can bring them to the high school or give them to a high school student or a Lion’s Club member. 

“One of the things they’re trying to do is to get the tennis shoes out of the garbage dumps. There are so many materials that can be recycled on shoes.”

Clarida and Leo Club Vice President Micah Miller, who attended the International Leos Leadership Convention, brought back the Lion’s Club son/daughter program because they realize the benefit for themselves, others in the club, and the community.

Since the Leo Club has made a return, a healthy chunk of the AHS student base are now members.

“We took the initiative to reestablish the club. We got a new advisor, Mrs. Karlson, and we recruited over 35 members,” said Clarida, who is also a member of the National Honors Society, Student Council, and played volleyball in the fall. “I think it’s super important that kids understand that getting involved with the community is important. Giving back to other people who do so much in our small town is a great skill to know.

“We’re thankful for Mrs. Karlson for taking on the advisor role. She kind of got thrown into it and she has been amazing through the whole thing.”

Not only is the Leo Club running its own project, but the high school students have been engrossed with other endeavors.

The Leo Club helped fill Easter bags with candy for the Amboy Lion’s Club Easter Egg Hunt on March 30, and in the past have decorated pumpkins with the fourth graders at Amboy Central School.

“I’m tickled to death with what the Leo Club is doing,” Travi said. “This group of kids, over 30, are volunteering. They are fulfilling a lot of community services and projects. Last fall, they helped with the Quad Cities Honor Flight dinner. The veterans really enjoyed having the high school kids there. The kids were asking the veterans questions and engaging with them. 

“The veterans were more than happy to talk with the kids.”