Laced Up: A student’s step towards shoes for all


Photo submitted by Ahmed Musa to the Simpsonian.

by Noah Sacco, Radio Station Manager

A child with no shoes can be one of the most visible signs of poverty. According to, one in five children in the United States are in desperate need of footwear. This is an issue that grows even worse globally.

Junior Ahmed Musa is doing something about it. 

In early January, Musa created the Laced Up Foundation, an initiative to promote poverty awareness and provide clean shoes for children and adults within central Iowa. This ambition is being carried out through his ongoing sneaker drive. 

“Growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of having many shoes,” Musa said. “My parents did the best they could but not many people are blessed with that opportunity. My team and I are collecting shoes that are new or in good condition to give back to those who really need them.”

The Laced Up Foundation is accepting shoes in all sizes for men, women and children. Once the shoes are collected, Musa personally washes and distributes all the shoes to homeless shelters, foster homes, orphanages and any place where people do not have adequate footwear. 

In just the last few weeks, Musa and his team have collected over 100 pairs of shoes for men, women and children. 

“By simply donating a good pair of shoes that you don’t use will change someone’s life down the road,” junior Enrique Idehen said. “Donating something so small can create a huge, lasting impact for a stranger in need.”

The goal of the foundation is to supply less fortunate or at-risk individuals with quality shoes. In doing so, Musa and his team strive to spread awareness of certain people’s privation. 

Assistant professor of management John Walker is in full support of Musa’s initiative, saying that Musa has the power to create a positive change in the world.

“Ahmed is a great example of what passion means and that following your passion can create your path in life,” Walker said. “He is altruistic, a change-maker and he embodies an important part of what Simpson College is all about, which is service to others.”

The foundation of the sneaker drive is based around one central theme: Hope.

In reality, many people tend to have too many shoes and never end up wearing all of them. Musa views the drive as a way to give back to those who don’t have that same privilege.

“To me, it’s an opportunity to make the world a better place and to give back to the community,” senior Sam Adeniyi said. “As a sneaker enthusiast, I am guilty of storing shoes and hardly wearing them. We take a lot of things for granted in life and this drive helped to open my eyes to that.”

Musa is hoping to partner with other companies or schools to promote poverty awareness in order to give those in need a chance to get laced up.

In the meantime, Musa and his team will continue to change people’s lives, one sneaker at a time.

“Our plan is to get everyone laced up. If we come together we can do that,” Musa said.

Donations are still being accepted by the Laced Up Foundation. If you are interested in donating to the drive or interested in helping, contact Musa through social media or school email.