Justin Tinucci, is Co-Founder of The Shoe Crew. He began working alongside his sister Kayla in 2012 when the siblings created, planned, and organized 8 events in one summer to collect over 2,000 pairs of new athletic shoes. The shoes collected that summer were distributed to teens and kids from A Place Called Home at their "Back To School" event. Justin's passion for giving back to the community has grown stronger every year and he is a huge advocate for helping those in need in any way he can.
Justin is an actor and musician living in Los Angeles he graduated Valedictorian of his high school class and is currently attending CSUN majoring in media composition. Since 2012, The Shoe Crew has given over 10,000 pairs of new shoes to kids in need. Justin has continued his efforts even in college and is now in charge of the California branch of the organization.
Kayla Tinucci recently graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and is now attending graduate school at AFIT in Ohio, she is a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force while obtaining her graduate degree in Operations Research.
Her inspiration for forming the Shoe Crew came when she and her friends held a drive to collect prom dresses and suits for disadvantaged youth in April 2012. After over hearing some kids at school talking about how they could not afford a new dress for prom, Kayla was inspired to find a way to help them, so she planned an event to collect dresses and other formal wear items! Kayla recruited her friends, and Chick-fil-A Northridge jumped on board to donate the venue! The end result was that Kayla and her friends collected over 600 formal wear items, including dresses, suits, shoes and accessories in one afternoon. After collecting the formal wear items, they participated in distributing the dresses and suits by attending the Cinderella and Prince Charming project event at A Place Called Home in South Central Los Angeles (a center for disadvantaged youth). Kayla and her friends helped the teens pick out their formalwear. She was so inspired by how grateful and thankful these teenagers were for the donations that she wanted to find a way to help underserved youth year round. After speaking with several organizations who help less fortunate kids, Kayla learned of the year round need for new shoes for disadvantaged children. This is where the idea for "The Shoe Crew" began.
Kayla and Justin set the Shoe Crew's first goal based on feedback from several charities. The summer goal was to collect enough shoes to fill the warehouse at the charity “Shoes That Fit” (which helps provide disadvantage school children with new shoes) and to supply a brand new pair of shoes for everyone served by A Place Called Home- the summer goal was to collect 2200 pairs of new shoes. Kayla and her brother Justin, who is an actor with a lot of ties to young Hollywood, recruited 20 friends and together the group set out to organize 8 events during the summer of 2012 to collect new shoes. It was no small task to plan 8 events in just one summer- (each somewhat like planning a wedding with a guest list of 300 people) the group worked incredibly hard. To meet the goal, they needed to collect several hundred pairs of new shoes at each event. They reached out to local businesses, writing letters and presenting their plan to get donations for venues, food, and entertainment. The community responded in force, and on June 22nd, 2012, The Shoe Crew effort launched their summer campaign. The event was sponsored by Malibu Golf Club and the first night they collected over 300 pairs of shoes. At each subsequent event, people brought brand new athletic shoes to donate. In exchange, they received entry into a fun activity, (pool parties, walkathons, skating parties, dances, concerts etc). Word spread and the Shoe Crew gained popularity. Hundreds of people attended each event and brought shoes. "Step by step" the shoe count rose, by the end of the summer, the group had exceeded their goal and had collected over 2400 pairs of new athletic shoes. This drew some attention from the media and they were featured on ABC news in August standing in front of 2200 pairs of new athletic shoes which stacked tall and wide (see photo on the website at www.theshoecrew.org) outside of Vlado Footwear. Vlado generously offered to match the first 1100 pairs of shoes collected by the Shoe Crew.
The first distribution of shoes, what the team of kids had worked towards all summer, was held August 4th 2012 at A Place Called Home- Kayla and Justin and their friends arrived at A Place Called home and were greeted by a line of kids wrapped around the building. On that day, they helped size 1055 underprivileged kids with new shoes. It was so inspiring for The Shoe Crew to see the looks on all of the kids’ faces when they were given a pair of brand new shoes. This provided even more inspiration for Kayla and The Shoe Crew to continue with the effort beyond the summer.
As of the fall of 2013, the Shoe Crew has consistently held events and collected shoes. The 2013 summer effort yeilded thousands more pairs. The combined total of shoes collected since June 2012 now exceeds 6,000 pairs of new shoes, The Shoe Crew has opened up 5 branches nationwide (Colorado, Florida, New York, Northern and Southern California) and has raised over $20,000. They have sent shoes to victims of Hurricane Sandy, provided shoes for the families supported by Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, and for orphans and homeless children. They receive calls from the community when there is a family in need of emergency assistance and have a program set up to assist homeless families through a local church. The Shoe Crew regularly attends events providing new shoes for those in need.
The Shoe Crew completed their second formal wear drive on April 13th 2013 where they collected 810 formal dresses and suits plus hundreds of accessories to send even more teens to prom in 2013. All totaled, in addition to the shoes collected, the Shoe Crew has collected over 1,410 items for prom (dresses, suits, and other accessories). They have sent many teens to prom who otherwise would not have been able to afford to attend this important milestone event in their lives.
The Shoe Crew's efforts have continued through 2016 as they have distributed even more shoes to disadvantaged kids. They have several distributions per year to help those less fortunate. They have now donated over 10,000 pairs of new shoes to kids in need.