MILWAUKEE -- A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee senior is preparing to return to his native country of Haiti for the first time in nearly a decade. The young man is on a mission to deliver 1,000 pairs of shoes.
Back in April, Steven Duclair had a problem.
"The first month, we only had one pair of shoes and I was like 'oh man, we are in trouble,'" said Duclair.
He was on a mission to collect hundreds of pairs of shoes for the children of Haiti, and coming up short -- so the 23-year-old decided to branch out.
"We went to St. Roberts Middle School, Plymouth which is right across the street, and the Medical College," said Duclair.
The UWM senior and a few friends have collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes. On Friday, Aug. 10 they leave for Haiti to deliver the shoes in person.
"This project is more about the willingness of the people who have been a part of it to practice love and compassion and empathy with an open heart," said Duclair.
That compassion comes largely from children in Milwaukee.
"The majority of the shoes were donated by K-4, first- and second-graders -- kids who want to donate their shoes for other kids in Haiti who don't have shoes to wear," said Duclair.
"It's going to be devastating to see all the kids living in their current condition, but I'll be definitely excited to be able to help them," said Nikia Johnson.
In addition, Johnson said they are working with an organization called "Clean Water for Haiti."
"They have pre-made water filtration systems available," said Johnson.
Undoubtedly, both said the journey will change their lives forever.
"This is the greatest thing I've ever been a part of my entire life," said Duclair.
To more about the effort, or to make a donation, CLICK HERE.