Carlow student’s charitable heart has sole |

Carlow student’s charitable heart has sole

Dozens of children abroad and locally owe their soles to Carlow University senior Emily Kolek.

She organized a campuswide event through Carlow’s chapter of the TOMS Shoes Campus Club, which she founded. For every pair of TOMS canvas shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in a developing country.

“It’s great knowing that when you purchase a pair, a child is getting a pair as well,” said Kolek, 21. “Since it’s the holiday season, we wanted to give back to the community in some way.”

Undergraduate students bought 50 pairs of shoes. The university’s student activity fee helped cover about half the cost of each pair. The students are invited to a “Style Your Sole” event next Thursday, where they’ll decorate their shoes using acrylic paints, stencils and fabrics.

The students will watch a documentary about TOMS and a faculty member will talk about social, ethical and business issues.

Founded in 2006, TOMS is a Santa Monica-based shoe company that makes canvas slip-ons.

“It’s a way for students to learn about TOMS in a fun way,” said Kolek, who is majoring in corporate communications.

As part of the event, faculty and staff sponsored 20 pairs of pink “Tiny TOMS” that will be donated to the Latino Family Center in Squirrel Hill in time for its holiday celebration.

The center serves about 60 families with children up to age 5. Center Director Samaria Arzola said it was tough to choose which girls would get shoes.

“I looked for the families who will need it most to help them finish their Christmas,” she said. “Moms like to dress (their daughters) for the Christmas fiesta… They won’t have to worry about the shoes to match their dress.”

Since enrolling at Carlow, Kolek — who is a Brackenridge native and Highlands High School graduate — has kept busy with charity work. She’s the president of Women in Communication, a campus organization that does monthly service projects, and is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity.

During an internship last year with Big Brothers Big Sisters, she organized the first Fashions for Kids’ Sake fashion show. The local chapter of the child-mentoring organization again will sponsor the event this year.

As part of Carlow students’ mentoring program with Allderdice High School students, the students will style their own TOMS and model them in the show, Kolek said.

Kolek said she’ll continue her work with TOMS in the spring term. She’s hoping to connect with other TOMS campus groups for the company’s “Day Without Shoes” awareness event in April.

“If we did it with a lot more people and walked down Fifth or Forbes avenues, it would have a much bigger impact,” she said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.