NEW PARIS, Ind. - When Amy and Quintin Schini adopted their daughter, Jocelyn, from an orphanage in Russia, the 4-year-old was wearing a pair of sandals, the only shoes she owned.
"We couldn't get them to stay on her," Amy recalled. "They didn't fit correctly."
As Jocelyn grew up, Amy and Quintin would tell their daughter the story of her tiny pair of shoes.
Jocelyn, 14, hasn't forgotten the story. She now wants to make sure other children and orphans have shoes that fit and are comfortable.
In lieu of a birthday celebration this summer, Jocelyn, of New Paris, organized a shoe and money drive. She asked that residents donate new and gently-worn children's shoes to the cause. She's collected around 200 shoes and raised more than $2,500 to distribute to agencies that help children across Elkhart County.
She titled the project "Olenka's Orphaned Shoes." Olenka is an affectionate form of Jocelyn's given name, Olga Vladimirovma Kiryaeva, originating from Ussurisk, Russia, Amy said.
Amy told The Elkhart Truth Jocelyn first presented her idea for the drive two years ago.
"I said, `That's nice,' and thought to myself, `How would we ever make this work?"' Amy said.
This year, Jocelyn was again interested in her idea and "persistent about the logistics of it all," Amy said. Amy agreed and they started the project in June.
In July, the Schinis traveled to North and South Carolina. There, Jocelyn passed out shoes and money to a children's home. They'll spend August passing out their collections to other homes and organizations, including Faith Mission and Reason Enough to Act.
The shoes will extend far beyond Elkhart lines, too. Boxes will be sent to orphanages in Mexico, Russia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
With shoes, Amy says, children have the security of playing without the worry of stepping on something.
"It's also something that belongs to them," she said.
Amy said she would like to thank everyone who has donated.