Psychology major continues to find passion in serving others

Ellie West
November 12, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For Penn State psychology junior Justin Liebman, community service has always played a defining role in his life and college experience.

Growing up, volunteering was an important aspect of his youth, Liebman said.

“At a very young age, my parents taught me the most important thing is to give back to people,” he said. With so much to be grateful for, the New Jersey native has always made an effort to seek out unique service opportunities.

During his junior year of high school, Liebman organized and founded his own non-profit charity, Karing 4 Kicks, which focuses on donating shoes to teens and young children in Haiti. The inspiration for these donation drives came after Liebman saw the long-lasting impacts of Hurricane Matthew, which devastated Haiti in 2016. Having an impressive sneaker collection of his own at the time, Liebman saw a perfect opportunity to share one of his passions and give back to those less fortunate.

“I used to collect and sell limited-edition sneakers,” Liebman said. “But when I saw these kids in Haiti running around with no shoes, I knew I wanted to do something to help.” Setting up donation drives in his hometown of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Liebman’s efforts were beyond successful. Donating 15 pairs of his own, he was happy to be able to combine his passion for sneakers with his passion for community service.

Liebman said that without a doubt, Karing 4 Kicks has been one of his most meaningful and inspiring service experiences. With news coverage reaching a national level and the overall drive collecting around 300-500 pairs of shoes, the nonprofit not only had a great impact on Liebman, he said, but also many others. 

Karing 4 Kicks is not the end of Liebman’s community involvement, however. At Penn State, he stays busy volunteering through his fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, and their various philanthropic efforts. Currently serving as the chapter’s president, he has made it a goal to keep the organization thoroughly invested in the community. “We volunteer at a spiritual center here in State College and also work with the Gift of Life Foundation,” Liebman said.

Prior to his position as president, Liebman served as the Zeta Beta Tau THON chair for the 2019-2020 academic year, helping to raise $50,000 and land his fraternity their first THON family.

With the goal of being a chiropractic neurologist, Liebman hopes that he can combine some sort of charitable service with his future career. “At my dad’s medical clinics, he’ll often set up drop boxes for various types of donations, so if there was a way for me to incorporate something like that in my future practice I would,” he said.

While Liebman has had to take a step back from Karing 4 Kicks in order to focus on his studies, he is not opposed to bringing a shoe donation drive to Penn State someday if the opportunity presented itself. “Seeing the impact we were able to have on a smaller scale just in my hometown, I think we could probably get like 2,000 pairs of shoes donated here at school,” he said. “I would love to be able to do that one day.”

Liebman’s passion for community involvement is both impressive and inspiring, and he is not slowing down anytime soon, he said. In the end, he believes going out of your way to help someone else is one of the best things you can do.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 13, 2020