JNESO Chief Steward and Board Member Annmarie Ruggiero shows some of the 200 pairs of shoes collected for The  Girls On The Run Pocono  program

JNESO Chief Steward and Board Member Annmarie Ruggiero shows some of the 200 pairs of shoes collected for The Girls On The Run Pocono program

More than 200 pairs of shoes were collected by the JNESO nurses at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono (LVH-P) to help support a local girls empowerment program.

JNESO Chief Steward and Board Member Annmarie Ruggiero organized the shoe drive after learning about the Girls On The Run Pocono program which provides after school programming for girls in grades three to eight.

“I was at StroudFest 2018 promoting information about Safe Nurse-to-Patient Staffing Ratios when I met Kimberlee from Girls On The Run Pocono. Because their activities are geared toward young girls and promote wellness and healthy living, I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved,” said Ruggiero, who has been a nurse at LVH-P for 14 years. “I raised three girls on my own and know how important it is for young women to have opportunities to learn how to be a strong and independent while growing up.”

Ruggiero enlisted the support of several JNESO union members at LVH-P who helped spread the word and enabled them to collect more than 200 pairs of shoes that were donated to Girls On The Run Pocono.

“We were able to collect a lot,” said Ruggiero. “JNESO and our Pocono nurses always look for ways to give back the local community so this was a win-win for everyone.”

This is the first time JNESO has participated in the shoe drive, but the fifth year that Girls on the Run Pocono has sponsored the fundraiser which supports programs that annually serve between 800 and 950 girls in five Pennsylvania counties: Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Lackawana and Luzerne.

“Our 10-week program, which is taught by volunteer coaches, features a well-rounded curriculum that combines exercise and life skills such as teamwork, gratitude, anti-bullying and self-esteem building to teach and empower young girls to set, reach and achieve goals,” explained Kimberlee Zateeny, Community Outreach Director for Girls On The Run Pocono. “Our programs are open to any girl who wants to participate, which is why we fundraise so that affordability isn’t an obstacle.”

The collected shoes are sold for .40 per pound and then shipped to Third World Countries where they are cleaned and resold by micro businesses that support families in those regions.

Zateeny added, “Girls On The Run truly appreciates all the help the JNESO nurses have given for this shoe drive and we look forward to doing more in the future together. Every little bit helps, and together we can do so much!”

For more information about Girls On the Run Pocono visit www.gotrpocono.org or call 570-534-7387.