Age: 18

High School: Ocean City High School

Hometown: Ocean City

Parents: Jeffrey and Christine Barnes

Community/school activities: Founder and regional ambassador for Sole4Souls Shoe Collection, which is a collection of new/used shoes to be donated to those in need; St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish religious education teacher; member of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish Pastoral Council; teacher for the Upper Middle Township School District Summer Enhancement Program; member of the Ocean City High School golf team; sales and marketing for the Ocean City High School yearbook; peer leader/mentor; 2018 state finalist, Principles of Finance.

Post-high school plans: Josh will be attending the College of William and Mary, where he plans to major in finance in the School of Business.

Career goals: Josh says no matter where he ends up, helping people will always be his goal. In a perfect world, Josh’s career goal is to create new businesses and revitalize existing ones/take businesses and turn them around.

Josh started the shoe donation campaign called “Sole4Souls,” in which he collects shoes January through March. At the end of the three months, the shoes get shipped to Bordentown. From there, the shoes get distributed to various underprivileged countries where women in those countries can start a business as a way to give people jobs. Sole4Souls has been helping people for three years. Since its start, Josh has donated over 8,000 shoes and has become a regional ambassador. Josh accomplished all of this while volunteering at many different school and community-based programs, as well as participating in school sports and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 4.69.

How have your exceptional communication skills and ability to work well with others helped you in your leadership positions?

In order for the full power of an idea to reach its full potential and come out to the public, there needs to be good communication. I realized that a big part of leadership is being able to create relationships with people, so I’d say I use my communication skills to help others get their ideas out.

What’s the biggest thing you learned from organizing the shoe donation?

I realized the power of community. We’re creating opportunities in places that otherwise would not have them. Empowering others is really what it is all about.

What is one piece of advice you could give someone who is striving to make a change in their community?

You need to have people who can effectively communicate. If you can unite people, then that’s when you can create real change.

— Emily Montgomery

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