Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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June 24, 2013

Girl uses her birthday to help orphans

NEW PARIS —  Like most 13-year-olds, Jocelyn Schini gets embarrassed when her mom starts talking about how proud she is of her daughter, and showing photos of her from the scrapbook of Joclyn’s life.

However, unlike a lot of 13-year-olds, Jocelyn is directing a large, selfless effort to help orphans around the world.

The effort is a personal one for Schini, who was adopted by her parents, Quintin and Amy Schini, New Paris, from Ussurisk, Russia on June 19, 2003, just weeks shy of her fourth birthday.

Now Jocelyn, who turns 14 next month, has only one request for her birthday; shoes she intends to give to orphans and those in need around the world.

“Well (my mom) told me a story about how I didn’t have many shoes (in the orphanage),” Jocelyn said. “And I thought maybe it would be cool to give back to the orphanages, so they have more shoes.”

Her mother, Amy Schini, was a little skeptical at first that her daughter could be so thoughtful.

“This is her only wish for her birthday,” she said. “And she has not once asked for anything else.”

“And when she first told me I was like ‘yeah right,’ I thought, ‘we’ll see.’”

True to her word though, Jocelyn has raised more than $1,000 and obtained 140 pairs of new and gently used shoes.

The project, called Olenka’s Orphaned Shoes, comes from Jocelyn’s birth name of Olga Vladimirovma Kiryaeva. Olenka is an affectionate form of Olga, according to Amy.

They have received the shoes from friends and members of their church, Brenneman Missionary Church. In addition, the Goshen Walgreens at U.S. 33 and Keystone Avenue has set up a donation drop box. They also received unsold shoes from the Wakarusa Missionary Church’s Children’s Resale.

Monetary donations can be sent to First State Bank of Middlebury, Goshen branch, P.O. Box 708, Goshen, IN 46527, Att: A. Chupp.

The Schinis are asking for children’s and teen’s shoes, gently used and new only.

“If you wouldn’t wear them, why should we expect someone else to wear them,” Amy said.

The shoes will be cleaned, bagged and then donated to domestic orphanages and missions both locally and in South Carolina, where the family plans to travel next month.

The money will be sent to orphanages in Russia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. According to Amy, this was done to save the cost of shipping shoes and to ensure that all the money will be spent on shoes and get to where it will help children the most.

“I am so proud of her,” Amy said. “She has been so sweet through this whole project. When I’ve taken her to do shoe pick ups, when I’ve helped her decorate a box, anything, she’s like ‘thank you so much mom for helping me with this.’”

“And it brings tears to my eyes because it’s so sweet that she’s being thankful. She’s not complained one time.”

Jocelyn, who will be in eighth grade at Fairfield Jr.-Sr. High School this fall, says she gets a good feeling from the work she does and being an orphan herself makes the work important to her.

 “She has a very giving heart,” her mom said. In addition to the shoe donations, Jocelyn is volunteering at Greencroft Health Care this summer.

The family says they will send a report and thank-you letters to the people who donate to show where their donations went, how much was raised and how many shoes were donated when the project is finished.

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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