This story originally appeared on Babble and is reprinted with permission.
Random acts of kindness are what make the world go round, yet this simple truth is often forgotten amid the hectic day to day. Luckily Madison "Peach" Steiner is here to remind us that love, compassion, and generosity always win - and that kindness can be hustled too.
While she wasn't in a place in life where she could give back financially at the age of 20, the New Mexico native discovered a creative way to pay it forward using her artistic talent. She started custom-painting and personalizing shoes for children with disabilities or fighting serious illnesses - making the world a better place, one pair of shoes at a time. Steiner coined this amazing non-profit Peach's Neet Feet.
Image source: Madison Peach Steiner
"I grew up in a family where kindness and compassion towards others were core values. Because of that, I always felt I could do something more to create a kinder world," she explains to Babble.
As an artist, Steiner started with a pair of hand painted shoes. Her mission was to "bring joy to children, and to build a community where people would come together to find comfort through connection and to share in moments," she says.
Her organization, which was created in 2011, has since put smiles on the faces of thousands of kids around the world. Currently she has 40 artists across the country volunteering their time to paint shoes, which are a creative collaboration between the child and the artist. "My hope is that when a child receives a pair of shoes, they feel that they are valued. I hope they feel their journey is recognized and that they feel celebrated beyond their diagnosis or adversity," she explains.
The shoes are free for the children, and all that's asked in return is to pay it forward with another act of kindness. This is how to "hustle kindness," according to Steiner.
She hasn't stopped there. Steiner has created a movement, offering more ways to get involved. "The Hustle Kindness movement is our initiative to inspire people to put kindness into action," she explains. "We created a lifestyle brand and a platform where anyone and everyone could be involved." Profits from every Hustle Kindness purchase will go toward the Peach's Neet Feet mission.
Image source: Madison Peach Steiner
To understand the impact a pair of PNF shoes makes on a child, all you need to do is listen to the stories. Take Samuel for example. This little boy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and suffered severe trauma, including facial and body paralysis. He has also lost all function of the left side of his body after two brain surgeries. Around the time Samuel was sponsored with his PNF shoes, he was learning to walk again.
"He was so excited because the turtles on his shoes were going to help him walk again. He has come such a long way," his family reveals. "He won't wear any other shoes and anytime we go out he tells everyone to look at his shoes. They make him so happy. I could never thank PNF enough for putting such a big smile on Samuel's face."
Because many of the kids are struggling with terminal illnesses, some of them don't get much use out of their shoes, but instead, their spirit lives through the shoes - like with Jaxson.
"We look at it with a positive spin that we still have these shoes that represent our son, his love of Mickey Mouse, and the Hustle Kindness movement," his family reveals. "So even though Jax didn't get much wear and tear on the shoes, we will always hold them dearly and be able to spread the love and kindness to other children through acts of kindness."
Sponsoring a child is easy. All you have to do is visit the Peach's Neet Feet site and make a donation of $50. You can also apply for a pair of shoes for your own child or someone close to you, or just make a donation toward the cause.
The most important message we can take away from Steiner? Hustle kindness. Every single day. "I understand that a kinder world requires a massive shift in perspective in how we connect with one another, but I believe that we all have this ability inside us," she says. "Connecting with others allows for positive and impactful interactions that may result in opportunities that could change our world through acts of kindness."
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