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Rockland Jewish Academy Students Collect 135 Pairs of Shoes for Soles4Souls

Young students at Rockland Jewish Academy, an independent school of just 85 students, collected 135 pairs of shoes for those in need this fall, to benefit the Soles4Souls organization.

rockland jewish academy school shoe drive

Some had sparkles and some steel toes, some had laces and others Velcro—but all 135 pairs of shoes collected by the students at Rockland Jewish Academy will help people in need keep their toes toasty this winter.

RJA is an independent community Jewish day school located in West Nyack. Its shoe drive, which ran throughout the fall, benefited Soles4Souls, an organization dedicated to providing footwear to those in need. Donations were distributed in our local community and beyond.

As part of a “Pay It Forward Challenge,” RJA students set a goal for the drive, and succeeded beyond their expectations. The nine students in the first-grade class took charge of the drive, challenging the school’s 85 students to donate at least one pair per person. The students rose to the challenge, contributing 135 total pairs to the drive. “Given that we are a total of 63 families, we can assume that, on average, everyone gave more than one pair,” says Judy Klein, director of admissions.

rockland jewish academy shoe drive

First-graders estimated and measured the shoes collected.

The drive also served as an education opportunity for the first-graders. “We took advantage of opportunities to teach a variety of math skills while emphasizing the importance of helping others,” says first-grade teacher Allison Rubin. “After the class challenged the school to contribute at least one pair per student, they estimated, counted, tallied, sorted, graphed, and measured the total contribution.”

This is the first year RJA has partnered with Soles4Souls, Klein says. In the past, the school has collected canned goods for People to People, made sandwiches for Nyack Soup Angels’ Sunday Supper, baked homemade dog treats for High Tor shelter, and made stuffed fleece pillows for the Center for Safety and Change. “This sort of caring for the community is a core value at RJA,” she says. “And we find that learning about community service is most effective when our children actually engage in the work themselves.”

Rockland Jewish Academy is proud to support Soles4Souls, Klein says, and proud of its students for making a difference. For more information on Soles4Souls and how to host your own shoe drive, visit


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