Join 'sneaker heads' to donate shoes to needy
They call themselves "sneaker heads," and, simply put, they are obsessed with sneakers.
From collecting and admiring them as art objects, to trading them and trying to stay up to date with the latest styles, they are a legitimate subculture.
Cameron DeHaven, a former Geneva firefighter now working in the Emergency Department at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, estimates his collection reached 200 pairs before he took a step back and thought about how he could turn them into something good.
And he's not alone. DeHaven formed Sneaker Heartz -- whose mission is to get shoes on the feet of those who need them the most -- with a team of sneaker heads, who began, as they say, by opening up their closets to make their community a better place, one step at a time.
Team members include Nick Resendez, who works by day as the general manager of the Patten House restaurant in Geneva, as well as Jason Sandquist, general manager of the Ivy Restaurant in Wheaton, and Jason Perez, a musician and music therapist at an alternative school.
"It's wild how much my life experiences revolve around this tight-knit sneaker community," Resendez says. "That (love) deserves to be shared, and Sneaker Heartz gives me that opportunity."
Rounding out the team is Geneva native and former NFL football player Pat Schiller, as well as Olijuwon Davis, a professional BMX racer.
In the last year, since DeHaven traded his firefighter uniform for scrubs, his colleagues in the emergency department have joined the mission. They include: Javier Mejia, a medical technician; Sarah Singer, a registered nurse; and emergency doctors Raj Kalsi and Ankur Dhawan.
"For all of us, sneakers are essential for day-to-day life," DeHaven says, "while for sneaker heads, they are a creative expression of life.
"That creative expression brought us together for a bigger purpose," he adds, "getting sneakers on the feet of those who need them most."
Currently, they have these collection boxes out:
• The House Pub, 16 S. Riverside Ave., St. Charles;
• The Basement Gym, 1450 W. Main St., St. Charles;
• William Barclay's Farmers Insurance office, 322 Hamilton St., Geneva;
• Legacy Sports Performance, 1900 E. Tyler Road, St. Charles.
To find out more about holding a collection drive, or to donate to the cause, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the team and learn more about its mission at sneakerheartz.com.