By Beverly Perkins
It was 5 years ago when Plantation resident, Tiernan Ramer, decided to start a charity project. At that time, she was just a 7th grade student at Seminole Middle School. The 12-year-old overheard a group of girls talking about their “shoe problems”. However, their “problem” was that they couldn’t stop buying them.
Tiernan knew that this was no joke, it was a real problem for some children, and she was determined to help. She visited a local Broward County shoe charity “In Jacob’s Shoes”, and was saddened to hear that kids in her own community were without shoes. She then created “Tiernan’s Soles Shoe Drive” and started collecting that week. The ambitious teen ended up collecting over 100 pairs of shoes.
On her 13th birthday, she was invited to attend a back to school event as a personal shoe shopper for kids in need. After helping many wonderful families, she was assigned to help an eight-year-old girl who fell in love with the rainbow-laced boots she previously collected.
“To see a pair of shoes that she collected make someone so happy was the most satisfying feeling she had ever experienced,” said her mother, Colleen Ramer. “After that her appetite for helping others was insatiable.”
Fast forward to high school, and Tiernan had collected over 1,000 pairs winning her the “Mattel Top 5 Young Philanthropists” in the United States award. As a result, “In Jacob’s Shoes” received a donation of $1000 in her name. During her Sophomore year of high school, she was awarded the “Jacob S. Zweig Excellence in Service Award”, and in her Junior year the “Freedom’s Foundation National George Washington Award” for her continued efforts.
Currently a senior at South Plantation High School, Tiernan has collected over 5,000 pairs to date, and has no intentions on stopping. Right now, she has about 400 pairs in her family’s garage ready for distribution. These will be transported to “In Jacob’s Shoes”. The local 501(c)(3) public charity, created in loving memory of Jacob S. Zweig, provides shoes, backpacks, school supplies and athletic gear to South Florida children in need.
“Donating shoes might sound simple but there’s so much more that goes with it. Shoes are the key to walking with confidence. Shoes also have the power to unlock opportunities some kids may never have such as playing sports, having a successful job interview, or even just going to prom,” says Tiernan. “I can confidently say that my volunteer work has not only made a difference today, but will also change tomorrow and every day following.”
Whether it is law, social work or education, Tiernan is hoping to find a career path that will support her desire to help the underserved.
For more information on how to donate, please visit facebook.com/tiernansoles, or look for donation receptacles in local Plantation salons, doctor’s offices, daycare centers, and gyms. The Plantation Police Outreach Center in Broward Mall is always accepting donations.