Teenager Donates 10,000 Shoes to Charity, Wins Youth Recognition Award

A Detroit teenager is winning over his community with his recent donation to the Soles4Souls charity.

According to local USA Today affiliate Hometown Life, Novi High School student and cross country runner Prateek Bhola realized in 2015 that he was wearing out his running shoes at a rapid pace. But instead of trashing his old kicks, the teenager began looking for ways to donate them, and that’s what led him to Soles4Souls.

Before long, Bhola had set a goal of donating 10,000 pairs of used shoes within four years. And as months went by, his hard work quickly started to pay off, and he ultimately surpassed his goal. Within 18 months, Bhola had hit the 10,000 shoe mark — but it wasn’t an easy task. The teen kept track of the work he put in and estimates he spent over 1,500 hours volunteering to pull off the donation.

After his donation, Soles4Souls reached out to Bhola and offered to donate 100 pairs of new shoes to a charity of his choosing. He chose Detroit’s Philip House Mission homeless shelter.

And in April, the Novi Youth Assistance organization honored Bhola with a Youth Recognition Award, making him one of just 30 people to receive the honor.

“What this has taught me is, mainly I want to focus on business with a social cause,” Bhola told Hometown Life. “I want to serve the community and serve the world.”

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