Rochester, NY, Teen Gives Sneakers to Peers for Start of School

Angela Bronner Helm
Zaire Downs, a Rochester, N.Y., teen, is giving sneakers away for back to school.
13WHAM-TV Screenshot

Tennies, sneakers, runners. Whatever you call them, kids today are into them. And even if they’re not, everyone wants to start school in a fresh pair of kicks.

A Rochester, N.Y., seventh-grader is giving back to his community by giving just those items away before the start of the school year.


Zaire Downs said that he was struck at how another kid in his school was being harassed because of his footwear.

“It’s this boy in my school who gets bullied because he doesn't have nice shoes," said Zaire to 13WHAM-TV.


The 13-year-old decided to be about it and started a sneaker drive to help. During the month of August, he collected 50 pairs of Nikes, Adidas and Jordans, reports the outlet.


Zaire also raised $310 through an online drive to buy four students new pairs of shoes.

“Some of the families told us they needed them because they were dealing with domestic violence,” said Zaire. “So we’re going to help them out.”


His mother, Tamara Leigh, said the kids who got the new shoes gave their age, sizes and favorite colors. She said that her son has always had a big heart.

“He’s so empathetic and compassionate,” said Leigh. “He’s always been the kid who’d befriend the most popular kids and least popular kid.”


Though the giveaway ended Saturday, you can still donate to Zaire’s GoFundMe page. Perhaps this can be an ongoing thing!

Read more at 13WHAM-TV.

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