Amy Marcus helped the little boy take off his ragged shoes. Now she saw why he had originally refused his new shoes.
“His socks literally were embedded in his feet. So, we put on his new socks, and extra pairs of socks with his new shoes. He skipped out as happy as can be.”
Since she has chaired the developed the Braden Aboud Foundation’s largest program, the B Strong Shoe Giveaway since 2006, Marcus says she has seen dozens of stories like this.
“I’ve seen children come in with taped or paper-stuffed shoes. Lots of children won’t wear their new shoes out because they want to save them. It’s amazing what we take for granted.”
Marcus recently established a relationship with the national “Shoes That Fit” program to get even more shoes for the program.
It’s just one on a long list of her community service, including American Heart Association, El Paso Museum of Art, Paso Del Norte Allocations Committee, Leadership El Paso and Leadership Women to help women reach their full potential, and even the FBI Citizens Academy – learning how the FBI works with the local community.
As a member and past president of the Junior League, she worked with the El Paso Rehabilitation Center to open a day care for special-needs children, “El Papalote” and was chairman of the Midnight Basketball program for at-risk youth, and the special-needs basketball program, Field of Miracles.
But at the start, it wasn’t easy for Marcus.
“I was truly one of the shyest people you knew," she says. "I wouldn’t get up in front of people.”
She credits Junior League with all the training she got as a volunteer. She learned that what she gave came right back to her.
“It doesn’t matter how much you give. It boomerangs.”
Seven years after she worked on the special-needs day care, her special-needs son Mitchell was born.
Mitchell is the star of the magical basketball moment in 2013 when he scored a basket for his Coronado High School team after Franklin High player Jonathan Montañez made sure he got the ball in his hands.
“All the training I got helped me know I needed to do certain training with Mitchell.”
When Marcus worked on Midnight Basketball she says she often took her children, Troy, Paige and Mitchell to the trainings. She wanted them to learn why it is essential to volunteer.
“There were times my kids didn’t understand why I did all this work and not get paid for it. It is so cool now they are grown to watch them contribute to their community.”