Heather Hopkins: Founder of My New Red Shoes looks to the future

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on April 9, 2012

Heather Hopkins, founder of My New Red Shoes

Over six years, My New Red Shoes, has grown 10 times, a great accomplishment for the non-profit that supplies homeless and low-income children with a $50 clothing gift card and a new pair of shoes to start the school year. But founder and Menlo Park resident Heather Hopkins is not stopping there. The organization’s goal is to serve every homeless child in the Bay Area over the next three years.

Much of My New Red Shoes’ success is tied to its volunteers, from Girl Scout troops to the organization’s Red Shoes Society, who  serve as both MNRS advocates and organizers. Heather is hopeful that volunteer participation will get easier now that the organization has moved to the recently completed Sobrato Center for Non-Profits in Redwood Shores.

“We have so much more community space,” said Heather. “One room is dedicated to shoe racks where our volunteers can come and sort the shoes by sizes and gender. That’s a pretty time intensive task.

“In addition, being surrounded by other non-profits on a day-to-day basis will provide us more opportunities to collaborate. Collaboration has been key to our success.”

While volunteers put together the bags that contain shoes, gift card, “something special”, and a handwritten note from the volunteer, it’s the staff at local family homeless shelters who get the bags into the kids’ hands. “Sometimes we have back-to-school parties at the shelters,” Heather said. “The shelters work hard so that the children can continue at the school they were going to before they became homeless.”

Heather is also excited about the new MNRS curriculum developed for the Girls Scouts: “This is an important new program because the more we can get from community sources, the less we need to rely on corporate sponsorships.”

The organization is hosting a Girl Scout Service Day — Sort, Sew, and Serve — which is already filled. But those Scouts who aren’t able to participate this year can earn badges through the new Take Action projects that are designed for every level of Scouting from Daisies to Ambassadors.

The next My New Red Shoes event will be the Stiletto Strut held at Neiman Marcus at the Stanford Shopping Center on April 28 — more on that to come on InMenlo.

Photo by Irene Searles

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