Brandon and Jordan Weinstein are the teenage founders of Click4Cleats.org, a Florida-based charity that provides athletic equipment to underprivileged boys and girls. Kids That Do Good talked to the twin brothers to find out how they got started, the obstacles they overcame, and what they get out of giving back.
TELL US ABOUT Click4Cleats
We collect gently used shoes for children and families in need. We began in 2014 when we started the ninth grade. It was just the two of us.
WHO IS YOUR PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP?
Our program helps families and children in need.
WHAT GAVE YOU THE IDEA?
We were with our parents buying lacrosse equipment and the subject of prices came up. Sports equipment is very expensive. We realized that there are lots of kids in the world who can’t afford it. We decided this would be a good way for us to give back to the community so we chose one item – shoes – to be our cause. Interestingly, many of our friends tried to discourage us. They said it’s been done before. We said: it hasn’t been done by us.
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU RUN INTO?
Fortunately, we found that schools and organizations were excited about what we were doing so they were eager to invite us to speak to their students and set up collection boxes. Still, having an idea is one thing. Seeing it through is another. Like any projects, there are always challenges. We had to decide how we were going to roll the charity out and that took some organizing, planning, and trial and error. It’s like a mini business, and we learned early on that what we put into it is what we would get out of it.
One challenge was updating/executing a website. Our parents helped us with the website and showed us how to update it so now we make the changes regularly. It’s been an important skill for us to learn. Another challenge was finding the right organizations to donate to. Now we send many of our shoes to In Jacob’s Shoes where they’re cleaned and sanitized and IJC guides us on which organizations are best.
Time management is an area we have learned a lot about. Finding time to devote to our schoolwork, extracurricular sports, and the charity has been something we’ve had to manage, especially this year (11th grade). My brother and I have learned to divide responsibilities, but also do a lot of projects together. We’re also not afraid to ask for help when we need it.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE IMPACT YOU’VE MADE?
We’ve collected over 2000 pairs of shoes for kids in need, but we believe the best measure of our success is in the smiles we see from the kids. There’s nothing better a little boy or little girl receiving a “new” pair of shoes for the first day of school.
HOW HAS YOUR PROJECT GROWN?
We are always looking for new schools, stores, and organizations to partner with. We started in 2014 with just two partners and now we have about ten. We have been featured in the Miami Herald and Jewish Journal and use social media (instagram) to interact with new donors. We send out emails 2 – 4 times a year from our mailing list reminding people that we are collecting.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEXT?
At some point we may consider becoming a 501(c)3 so that we can collect donations and buy shoes for those in need. Not everyone has shoes to donate so they ask us how they can help. For now, we tell them to send gift cards for us to purchase the shoes. We would love to have regional divisions of the charity. We’re talking to friends around the country who may help out.
WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF HELPING OTHERS?
It’s great to look back on our journey from ninth grade. We used to be nervous speaking to large groups about our work, and the charity has given us a lot of confidence in that area. Whatever challenges we have faced, we have always been able to turn them into areas of personal growth.
Jordan: It’s very humbling and meaningful to give back. It definitely keeps you grounded and focused on what’s important in the world.
Brandon: It’s very fulfilling and gratifying. You really feel like you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO OTHER KIDS WHO WANT TO DO SOMETHING GOOD?
Do it. Don’t let anything stop you. Remember, whatever it is, it hasn’t been done by you, and it will most definitely make you a better human being. The world needs more of those.