All too often, when children are diagnosed with a disability or serious illness, their world fills with appointments and disappointments. They might face lengthy hospital stays and painful treatments, not to mention missed opportunities to be a kid.

Madison Steiner—nicknamed “Peach”—is making a difference in these children’s lives by giving them the gift of recognizing their individuality that shines through their health conditions.

At age 16, Steiner dropped out of high school, but she had greater ambitions. She earned her GED and a college degree in human services/social work studies.

In 2011, she decided to put her caring on canvas—but instead of turning to a traditional art medium, she started painting custom sneakers for children living with serious health conditions.

As her giving gained momentum, Steiner founded a nonprofit organization, Peach’s Neet Feet, based in her home state of New Mexico. Today, with the help of dozens of artists across the U.S., Peach’s Neet Feet provides 50 pairs of shoes to children each month. Each pair is customized for a specific child’s interests and courageous fight. The organization coordinates donations with more than 20 hospitals and other nonprofits nationwide. Peach’s Neet Feet only asks in return that the child and his or her family promise to pay the kindness forward at some point.

Since 2011, Peach’s Neet Feet has donated more than 3,000 pairs of shoes and helped 4,000 families with other services, including care packages for children (with toys and art supplies), essentials for families facing lengthy hospital stays, “Peach Parties” and other events to raise funds and/or community awareness, and a support network for children and families.

In 2012, Steiner’s work was honored as the winner of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s Extreme Kindness Challenge, which gave Peach’s Neet Feet the opportunity to work with Storytellers for Good to produce a video about the shoes’ impact. Steiner was a guest speaker at the Chopra Foundation Sages and Scientists Symposium 2013, and Peach’s Neet Feet received the Sheckler Foundation’s “Be The Change” award in May 2014. In September 2014 she spoke at the 5th annual TEDxABQ conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

Peach’s Neet Feet and Madison Steiner’s movement of kindness are gaining traction—making a happier world that celebrates the individuality of all children, one pair of unique shoes at a time.

Kindness. Pass It On!

Original post: