15-YEAR-OLD GIRL LAUNCHES “LOCKER” TO GIVE BACK
Shanneil Turner’s dream was to play on Vacaville High School’s basketball team. The 15-year-old was set on trying out, but one thing was standing in her way: shoes.
Her parents were going to buy her a pair, but they couldn’t afford it at that time, said Turner, who has been a Boys and Girls Club member since age 6.
Turner ended up borrowing a pair, but they were falling apart.
“Both her feet were duct-taped,” said Anna Eaton, Director of the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club.
Eaton helped Turner apply for one of the club’s scholarships to purchase shoes. With her new shoes, Turner tried out and made the team. If not for the scholarship, she probably wouldn’t have played, Eaton said.
But Turner’s dreams didn’t end there. On Saturday, she celebrated another major accomplishment: launching her own organization called Shanneil’s Locker to provide athletic shoes to middle and high-schoolers in need.
The idea, of course, came when Turner witnessed what others had done for her.
“I thought, ‘Wow, there’s people out there who want to help me accomplish my dreams,’” she said.
She realized that not every kid has that same opportunity.
“What about the kids who don’t have a Boys and Girls Club to help them?” she told a crowd of supporters who attended the Shanneil’s Locker launch party at the club on Holly Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Attendees including Assemblyman Jim Frazier, representatives from Nike and several people from Kaiser Permanente, which awarded Turner a grant for 100 shoe scholarships worth $75 each.
Vacaville Kaiser Chief Operating Officer Kim Menzel said she decided to help Turner after reading a story about her aspirations in The Reporter.
Menzel assisted Turner in applying for one of Kaiser’s community benefit grants, which focus on promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. “Our mission ties in with what she wanted to do,” said Menzel, who is also a Boys and Girls Club board member.
Not to mention, Turner’s story was inspiring, she said.
“It just goes to show how involved we can all get in our community,” she said.
Frazier was impressed to see a 15 year old who was working so hard to help others. He announced he would give Shanneil’s Locker $2,000.
“Keep it up,” he told Turner.
At the event, Boys and Girls Club kids wore “Shanneil’s Locker” T-shirts signed by Shanneil. They helped hand out scholarship applications to other kids.
“Shanneil’s Locker is a thing now,” she said.
Any kid who needs shoes can apply, said Turner, who hopes to one day expand the scholarships to other sports equipment. Applicants will not be judged solely based on financial need, she added.
The application includes questions about what sport the kid is interested in playing and how they would plan on paying it forward.
“I thought that was a unique idea she had,” Eaton said of Turner.
Applications are available at the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club at 100 Holly Lane. Applications need to be filled out and mailed back. Applications and donations to Shanneil’s Locker can be mailed to 100 Holly Lane, Vacaville, Ca., 95688.