Bullied Over His Shoes, Teen Now Collects Them for Other Kids
After he was brutally attacked because of his shoes, he knew he had to do something to help others like him.
Kyler Nipper knows how important it is to have a good pair of shoes.
Three years ago, he was brutally bullied by his classmates because of his shoes. Kyler suffered from a condition known as "idiopathic toe walking" which forced him to walk on his tip toes. Because of this, his shoes would get bunched and worn out quickly.
One day, as he was walking to biology class, a few kids stabbed him multiple times with a pencil, puncturing his lung. Kyler, who was in 6th grade at the time, had to go to the emergency room and suffered from PTSD after the incident. His parents pulled him out of school after that, and he was home-schooled.
Shortly after he got out of the hospital, Kyler decided to put a donation box outside of his apartment building to collect shoes for other people who might need them. He then got permission to put out boxes in front of a few stores in Colorado Springs asking for new or gently used shoes.
He named his project, "Kyler's Kicks," and after four months he had so many donations that a local company provided him with a bus that he and his family used to deliver the shoes to low-income neighborhoods. People could board the bus and try on different pairs until they found the right fit.
Sadly, after medical bills started coming in from Kyler's hospital stay, the Nipper family couldn't afford the rent for their apartment and they became homeless. They decided to move to Las Vegas for a fresh start and rented a studio apartment in a low-rent community for families of veterans.
Despite his family's troubles, Kyler continued to collect donations of shoes. Since then, Kyler's Kicks has given out more than 25,000 pairs of shoes, mostly to at-risk children, teenagers and homeless people in Las Vegas.
He's even partnered with some pretty big organizations, including Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation and Zappos for Good. Both make donations to Kyler's Kicks on a regular basis.
Kyler also keeps community closets stocked with shoes at a few local elementary schools so that students in need don't have to go through the same thing he did. Linda LaHodny, a teacher at one of the schools, says the closet has already made a big impact.
"She walked back to class wearing not only her new shoes, but a big smile on her face like she'd just won the lottery," LaHodny said about one student who visited the closet after being made fun of for her worn-out footwear.
While Kyler's road to recovery after the attack has been a long one, he says his real therapy now comes from seeing the smiles on strangers' faces after he gives them a new pair of shoes.
He says it's the "best feeling ever."
You can learn more about Kyler's Kicks and make a donation on the organization's Facebook page .
(Source: images & video Kylers Kicks Facebook )