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Purdue track & field athlete gives back to Fort Wayne Boys and Girls Club

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – A track & field athlete at Purdue University who spends his summers working with kids harnessed the power of social media to give back.

Bijay Stephens, a 22-year-old Junior at the Lafayette campus, took to social media earlier this year to ask friends, current and former teammates, or anyone who wanted to donate shoes to the Boys and Girls Club.

The Northrop grad said he grew up at the Boys and Girls Club, and since he spends his summers working as a Youth Development Professional, he said giving shoes was a great way to give back.

“Just knowing the background of all these kids, knowing that some of them aren’t as blessed as I was at this age… Seeing their faces light up when they got a pair, new or used, it meant a lot,” Stephens said.

His goal this year was to get 200 pairs of shoes.

Stephens said he went over his goal big time with around 650 sneakers.

This week, Stephens plans to donate them to the Boys and Girls Club and Genesis Outreach. 

Stephens said he hopes to show kids what’s possible for them to do in the future.

“I think it’s pretty cool because some people can’t afford shoes,” Alissa Mcelwain, a 12-year-old at the Fort Wayne Boys and Girls Club said.

“It made my day.”

She said that someday she’d like to give back to the Boys and Girls Club after seeing what Stephens did for his community.

Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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