As a junior tennis player, Ellis Short V has needed many pairs of shoes to get him through the challenges of an international playing schedule. Growing fast, he would often grow out of these shoes even before he was able to wear them, leaving him with pairs of unused tennis shoes.
Not wanting to see these shoes go to waste, Ellis and his family decided it would be far better to donate his unused tennis and running shoes to others who need them. Motivated by a sense of wanting to help others, particularly those that have helped him, the idea for Shoes To Share was born.
Ellis’ competition schedule now takes him to many different parts of the world, some of which are more disadvantaged than others. Yet with each visit to a different tournament has come a consistent sense of welcoming and hospitality. Donating the shoes, tennis balls and equipment has become a way of saying thank you to every venue that Ellis visits.
Understanding the power of helping others through sport, his mother Eve describes Ellis as ‘a real kid wanting to help real people’ and Shoes To Share as something that allows Ellis to express his sense of ‘purpose, kindness and empathy’.
Since May 2019, what began as a simple gesture of thanks has begun to gather real momentum, as more and more sponsored athletes, professional players, coaches and organisations show their willingness to get involved.