McCall Horton, a junior in Gables’ International Baccalaureate program, is not your ordinary high school student. When she was only 10 years old, she created an organization called “Shoes for the Unshoed.” Through Miami Rescue Mission, Horton hoped to provide shoes for thehomeless community across theMiami-Dade County area. Although this began on a small scale, “Shoes for the Unshoed” has nowcollected hundreds of shoes since its start date in 2013. When she first began this organization, Horton gave a talk about Technology, Education, Design and her experiences with starting “Shoes for the Unshoed” when she was only 10 years old.
Being an avid reader, she has always been in search of a new book to discover. Alongside her mom, Horton joined a book club, where her and several other girls her age (along with their mothers) would read a different book each month. Once it was her turn to decide, Horton chose the book “Holes,” which is about a boy who magically receives a pair of shoes and the experience that results from his ownership of the shoes changed his life. After reading the book, Horton had the idea to start a shoe drive with a few of her classmates to change the lives of others in the same way as the book. At the end of her very first drive, they collected 60 pairs of shoes. This only encouraged her to continue with the project.
“I think what McCall is doing is really inspiring. It shows her true devotion to service because she came up with this idea completely on her own at the age of 10. I remember being amazed by what she was doing when we were in elementary school and seeing how she genuinely cared about this project,” junior Alexandra Torres said.
As a result of her humanitarian work stemming from such a young age, Horton was invited to speak at the [email protected] conference, where influential teens and kids gathered to share their stories. In her TED Talk, Horton told the audience about her life-changing experiences through “Shoes for the Unshoed.”
“Being a part of this project at such a young age exposed me to another part of my community that I normally wouldn’t interact with or get the chance to interact with. [Shoes for the Unshoed] encourages me to not take all I have for granted and use what I have to give back to my community,” junior Mccall Horton said.
To the surprise of many, Horton was not nervous at all about speaking in front of such a large audience. She was actually extremely excited since her prior theater experience prepared her for this kind of situation. Nevertheless, she did not realize the significance of her speech. As of Oct. 10, her video has over 1,300 views on YouTube, not including those hundreds of people who viewed her speech live.
As Horton moved on to the larger school setting of Gables, “Shoes for the Unshoed” has reached more people than ever before. Previously, she reached out to do drives both at her middle school and her local children’s theater, in order to reach as many people as possible. To continue “Shoes for the Unshoed” through her high school years, Horton began a seasonal drive at Gables, where several teachers offered extra credit in exchange for donations. With this first drive, she collected 67 shoes to be sent to Miami Rescue Mission. She hopes to continue these drives throughout the rest of her high school years, as this cause is one she holds close to her heart.
McCall Horton’s exceptional work from such a young age is an inspiration for other students to pay forward their privileges and give back to their communities in any way they can. The values she holds so strongly are pillars of our society, and this kind of work should continue to be encouraged for the future generations to come.
Senior Mccall Horton sitting with some of the shoes she has collected for her shoe drive “Shoes for the Unshoed.”
One year later and still going strong, Gables student Mccall Horton has continued to work hard to keep her project “Shoes for the Unshoed” going throughout COVID-19. “Shoes for the Unshoed” is a shoe drive that Horton started among her and her friends at the age of 10 after being inspired by the main character in the book “Holes” who steals a pair of shoes. Eventually, what began as a small drive between her friends grew into a community wide shoe drive. All of the shoes that Horton collects are donated to the Miami Rescue Mission.
“I wanted to do a beneficial activity based on the book, so I did a small shoe drive that eventually developed into the project I have today,” senior Mccall Horton said.
Mccall Horton is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program here at Gables. She is the Vice President of Troupe and Gables Players and is also a part of Key club and Interact. She enjoys being part of clubs that allow her to become involved in her community.
Due to Horton being so young at the time she established “Shoes for the Unshoed,” she received some support from her mother in getting started. However, once it had been set up, the drive became a one woman show with Horton as the leader.
Horton’s favorite part of the drive is how much it pushes her to try new things and meet new people. In order to inform citizens from her community about “Shoes for the Unshoed,” she has not only used her connection from her school and community theatre, but has also been on television and the radio reaching out to as many people as she can.
“Being able to meet so many people through my project has helped me so much and I have learned from all the people who have helped make it possible. It has encouraged me to be more vocal about what I believe in and how to be a better and well rounded person,” senior Mccall Horton said.
It’s meant to encourage others to give what they have to others in need, whether it’s with shoes for the Unshoed or not,”
— senior Mccall Horton
While the pandemic did impact “Shoes for the Unshoed” and the way it flowed, Horton did not let it stand in her way of helping others. She has continued to reach out to those in her community using social media, and as a result has been able to keep the drive going all throughout quarantine.
If anyone is interested in donating or was looking for more information regarding the drive they can contact Horton through her email, [email protected] or check out her instagram @shoesfortheunshoed, where her DM’s are open for questions. From her elementary years until the current day, Horton has devoted so much time and energy in keeping up this drive, benefitting her community. There is no doubt that she will continue to work hard and improve into the future.