Ayla’s Closet is an ongoing project sponsored by the Ayla Lou Memorial Foundation to create shoe “closets” to provide free shoes for young people in need – no questions asked. The project is in memory of a young girl named Ayla who loved shoes.
The McCashland sisters – Carly, Katie, and Cassidee of Union County – received a YES Grant from the Indiana 4‑H Foundation to help establish a second closet at College Corner Elementary School to match the one already set up at Liberty Elementary School.
“I can’t even put into words how much this means to us. Thank you for helping us keep our daughter’s memory alive,” said Sarah Wollyung Greye, Ayla’s mother. “Ayla had such a love for shoes, especially glittery ones. She would love this!”
Carly said that leading the service project was an educational experience in many ways, particularly in learning to manage a budget.
“I am confident that in the future, this will help me when I’m faced with a budgeting task,” said Carly.
The McCashland sisters were able to fill the closet with 38 pairs of brand new shoes, a few jackets in excellent condition, socks, and lots of new hats and gloves.
“It was humbling to get so much support and encouragement from my community,” said Carly. “One thing I learned about myself is that I really can make a difference – and that if I put my mind to it, anything can be done.”
The College Corner Elementary School closet became operational on August 9, 2022. Since then, many pairs of shoes have been shared with students in need.
“Donations continue to roll in from people in our wonderful community,” said Carly. “Our community is a small, close-knit one… people have reached out and want to help keep these closets full.”