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Local students collect shoes for children in Liberia

EB Ellington Elementary School

Students and staff from E.B. Ellington Elementary School show how many flip-flops they collected during the fall drive.

Students in Charleston County School District (CCSD) have once again supported an effort to collect flip-flops for children and families in Liberia.

Earlier this fall, Dr. Helen Frazier, who has previously served on both the CCSD Board of Trustees and District 23 Constituent Board, coordinated with principals at Baptist Hill Middle High School, E.B. Ellington Elementary School and Jane Edwards Elementary School to host the drive, which resulted in the donation of nearly 900 pairs of flip-flops.

When Dr. Frazier first visited Gbarnga, located in Bong County, Liberia, in 2018 she noticed large numbers of kids walking around barefoot. She was in the country with her sister to support the nonprofit organization It Takes A Village, which works to provide necessary items such as food and clothes to children and individuals, as well as educational and humanitarian outreach efforts.

When she returned to Charleston, Dr. Frazier worked with local schools to collect shoes for the children in Liberia, which resulted in the first flip-flop campaign in 2019.

This year, all three schools were eager to participate in the campaign and give back to those in need.

“My wife and I have always believed that there are givers and takers in the world,” said E.B. Ellington Principal James Dallas. “We all know what it feels like to receive; however, how many of us have experienced the joy of giving. Participating in the flip-flop campaign allowed our students to step outside of themselves to do for others; to do for those in great need. Our hope is that they recognize that the more they give, the more they will receive.”

Interim Principal Michael De Jong said that Baptist Hill students, families and staff are fortunate to have the ability to support this yearly event.

Baptist Hill students

Students from Baptist Hill Middle High School hold pairs of flip-flops collected to donate to children in Liberia.

“We have surpassed our last events numbers by 120 sets of flip-flops and want to increase next year's total number to 600 pairs,” said De Jong. “Thank you Dr. Frazier for the continued support of our school and for allowing us here at Baptist Hill to participate in such a worthy cause."

Principal Jarmalar Logan said the loving and caring children at Jane Edwards Elementary were excited about the flip-flop campaign.

“Our Social and Emotional Learning curriculum begins with lessons focused on empathy and the flip-flop campaign has allowed students to reflect on empathy in action,” said Logan. “We are thankful for the opportunity to participate in this worthy cause. Showing kindness will always be emphasized at Jane Edwards.”

The flip-flop campaign was held in cooperation with It Takes A Village, and Dr. Frazier will be making a return trip to Liberia in January to deliver all the flip-flops donated by Lowcountry families.