Good Soles

Sophia, Amanda, Colin and Craig Goossen with Atasha Hill from Child Crisis Arizona. 


Thanks to St. Thomas’s fourth-grade teacher Amanda Goossen and her family, hundreds of children returned to school this year wearing new shoes.

For the past six years, the family has led The Good Soles Shoe Drive to help collect shoes for Child Crisis Arizona, an Arizona Foster Care organization. 

“To date, we’ve collected over 1,000 pairs of shoes and thousands of dollars to support this cause, allowing hundreds of children to go back to school with a new pair of shoes on their feet,” Goossen said. 

While back-to-school shopping in 2017, Goossen, a mother of two, became acutely aware of the emphasis placed on backpacks and other general school supplies, whether they were featured in-store sales ads or school drives. 

She kept hearing her grandfather’s words: “Everyone deserves a good pair of shoes.” 

Growing up, her grandfather was an orphan supported by the Catholic Church and its nuns. Goossen said that he became the inspiration and foundation for Good Soles.

“He was the epitome of good,” she said. “He dedicated his life to the Catholic Church. I searched out foster care programs, and when Child Crisis mentioned that shoes were something their children lacked, I knew this was one way my family could help.”

This year, Goossen and her family collected around 600 pairs, with local businesses donating about $7,500 to Child Crisis Arizona.

“Along with our continued sponsor, Tito’s Vodka, and their program, ‘Love, Titos,’ we were able to purchase hundreds of shoes, which made it possible to buy every size that Child Crisis Arizona needed, plus many, many more,” Goossen said.

New this year, The Good Soles established a student volunteer aspect. They selected four St. Thomas students in seventh and eighth grade to create a fundraising competition.

“The students earned service hours, and the winner was named The Good Soles Shoe Drive Volunteer of the Summer,” Goossen said. “These four students ended up collecting 198 pairs of shoes together. It was incredible.”

For the Goossen family, the drive is a family tradition they look forward to each June.

“It allows us to devote some of our summer to something other than ourselves. I hope it has shown our children that giving back can be something you do year after year that can make a large impact without a large struggle,” Goossen said. “It’s easy to give to others, and I hope they always remember that.”