Meet 4 Smithson Valley High School students who are doing good with their passions

Recycling shoes, raising awareness about mental health and collecting funds for cancer

Four Smithson Valley High School students have started service campaigns. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – From cancer and mental health awareness to recycling shoes, four students with Smithson Valley High School have started their own service campaigns for causes that are important to them.

Sophomore Avery Walker is working with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society to raise money for a cause near to her heart.

Junior Collin Fuller and sophomore Ryann Mcanelly have made it their goal to raise more than $5,000 for the Junior League of San Antonio’s mental illness campaign.

Senior Abigail Redin asked her classmates for their old shoes, and now she is donating them to a non-profit that recycles the shoes for people in need in time of disaster across the globe.

KSAT 12’s Sarah Acosta spoke with each student or student group about their campaign.

Meet Avery Walker:

Hope for Peggy, it’s the name of Avery Walker’s campaign where she is raising money for the local Leukemia and Lymphoma society chapter. Peggy is the name of her grandmother who she never met, because of cancer. And now, it’s who she says is the motivation for her project.

“It’s the number one childhood cancer and it’s a really big problem and you don’t realize how many people actually have it. People you talk to everyday, until you actually start bringing awareness, you never realize that they’ve had it or have been affected by it. My grandmother was the inspiration for this. Because I never got to meet her, she passed away from breast cancer before I was even born. Not only do the funds that we raise for leukemia and lymphoma go to that, but it goes to other cancers as well like breast cancer that my grandmother had. So I know I’m helping everybody," Avery Walker said.

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Walker is raising money for her seven week campaign that ends at the end of February. She is holding several collections for the South Texas Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The non-profit funds leading-edge research for every type of blood cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other rare types of blood cancers. The campaign is part of the leukemia and lymphoma students of the year program, where select high school students across the country participate in a fundraising competition to benefit the non-profit. To read more about Avery’s cause, check out this page.

Meet Colin Fuller and Ryann Mcanelly:

Colin and Ryann have made it their goal to raise more than $5,000 for the Junior League of San Antonio’s mental illness campaign.

One and five children will be impacted by mental health, and it’s something Collin and Ryann have recognized. They now want other students to know that they are not alone., and that there are ways to get help.

“When you have a physical illness you go to the doctor but when you have something mental with your mind or whatever normally people just keep it in and they think it’s something wrong with them and so we just need to change that and make sure people do go in for help if they do have mental problems,” Colin Fuller said. “I have a sister who is three-years-old and I just thinking, ‘What is the world going to be like in 10-20 years?’ I want her to grow up and if she does have any issues or if other people have issues it can be addressed.”

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It’s why Ryann and Colin have decided to raise money and awareness for mental health through the Junior League of San Antonio’s paving new paths campaign. They are raising funds for the Clarity Child Guidance Center. The center is the only non-profit mental health treatment center South Texas for children ages 3 to 17 that need evaluations, therapy and crisis treatment surrounding mental health. The center helps provide financial aid to children that are struggling with mental illness that don’t have health insurance or the means for treatment.

“I don’t think people realize that a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body,” Ryann said. “Mental health isn’t really talked about that much, so we really want to show people that there is an outlet and support for them.” Ryann and Colin hope to raise more than $5,000. They are holding a variety of fundraisers through concession sales and partnership with local businesses. To check out their page, click here.

Meet Abigail Redin:

Soles4souls is a non-profit that takes your old shoes and recycles them, giving them to someone in need or to make new shoes to help the environment. Abigail Redin says her shoe drive for the non-profit is more than just collecting old shoes.

“You don’t open your closet and say oh well, I have all these shoes,” Abigail Redin said. “You don’t worry about is there going to be a pair of shoes that I get to wear to school so I don’t end up getting cuts and bruises or infections that can possibly kill me in my feet.” For the past several weeks, Abigail has been collecting old shoes across all of the Comal ISD campuses. Last year, she surprised herself when she collected over 5,000 shoes for her first drive for Soles4souls.

This year, she hopes the surpass that number. Once counted up and collected, the shoes will go to the local DSW designer shoe warehouse. From there, the shoes will be distributed to people suffering from a natural disaster to across the globe in a third world country where Abigail says some have to walk to school or to collect water for miles barefoot.

“You never know when crisis or disaster is going to strike,” Abigail said. “It can strike anyone. It doesn’t matter your race, your socioeconomic status. It can strike anyone at anytime. I think it’s important for us to prepare for that. I just really love helping people. I love volunteering, and giving back so it’s just really important to me that someone is getting help that needs it. Soles4souls has donated shoes to 127 countries excluding the US. So knowing that it is going somewhere where someone needs it and all I had to do was donate my shoes, that’s just a really great feeling.”

About the Authors

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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