New York teen Zaire Downs is giving away sneakers to his classmates to prevent bullying

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Childhood bullying is a serious issue plaguing our schools and has been proven to be the cause of long-term issues in adulthood. But Zaire Downs wants to do his part to put an end to this problem. 

Downs, 13, has organized a "Back 2 School" sneaker drive to prevent bullying in his Rochester, New York community. 

"It's this boy in my school who gets bullied because he doesn't have nice shoes," Downs told WHAM-TV. "I feel bad for some kids who can't afford them."

Zaire DownsSource: Tamara Leigh/Facebook
Zaire Downs  Tamara Leigh/Facebook

The New York teen was responsible for collecting 50 pairs of Adidas, Jordans and Nikes throughout the month of August, according to WHAM-TV. "All sizes, mostly kids though," Downs told the station.

Downs' GoFundMe campaign has raised over $1,600 so far, and all of the proceeds will go toward purchasing more sneakers for his classmates. 

His mother, Tamara Leigh, is completely supportive. 

"He's so empathetic and compassionate," Leigh told WHAM-TV. "He's always been the kid who'd befriend the most popular kids and least popular kids."

Downs will host an event at the Thomas P. Ryan Center in Rochester on Aug. 27, where he will give away the sneakers he collected.