Ashley Engel died at the young age of 20, after a boating accident in Worthington, Minnesota. Since her death in 2011, her family has been looking for ways to honor her life.
Today, they got to witness kids in need benefiting through Ashley's name.
"Ashley was an amazingly compassionate and loving girl," Ashley's mom, Jolene Engel said.
Ashely Engel was a graduate of Lincoln High School, and had a passion for serving others. So, when it came time to honor Ashley's life, her family decided to do the same.
"Ashely had a love of children. When she went to Lincoln High School she tutored for kids that were just coming in from the Immersion Center. And Ashley had a love of shoes also," Engel said.
The combination of these two things began "Ashley's Kicks for Kids."
In December the family started gathering children's shoes. Ashley's mom, Jolene, says the response was overwhelming.
"We received 162 pairs of shoes, from people who came to the open house. We had them come through the mail, from people we do not know. Family and friends from across the country sent, and so we had a great turnout. And it was something that filled our hearts," Engel said.
Today, those shoes were handed out to kids at Jane Adams Elementary.
"I think they're going to be excited and happy. And I can't wait to see the light in their eyes as they get to pick their own shoes," Engel said.
According to two little girls who got a pair of shoes, the day was a success.
"I picked some new shoes and I like it," Biftu Mitiku said.
"I like the 'N' because that's what my last name starts with," Jennifer Noutsuuougan said.
Jolene says this day was the perfect way to continue Ashley's compassionate legacy.
"That's what helps our grief and our journey, is to say Ashley's name and to feel like we're doing something for her and for others. It gives to them and it also fills a big void for us," Engel said.
Engel says she plans to expand this program and make it an annual event on Ashley's birthday, May 23.
To find out how to help out with this event in the future, you can email Jolene at firstname.lastname@example.org .