Five days before sixth-grader Kyler Nipper was stabbed with a pencil in the hallway of Carmel Middle School, he started a project to help prevent his classmates from being bullied.
For Kyler, who has been insulted by his peers for wearing what some considered out-of-style footwear, that meant providing others with new shoes.
Another sixth-grade student was suspended for the Oct. 7 stabbing, which left Kyler with a punctured lung that required trauma surgery, a temporary breathing tube and a weekend hospital stay.
But he refused to abandon his "Kyler's Kicks" fundraiser. On Saturday, he and his family distributed shoes to neighbors and passers-by from a table stationed outside his home on Mazatlan Circle in southeast Colorado Springs.
"It's just not fair that people pick on you because of stuff you wear on your feet," 11-year-old Kyler said.
About 80 pairs of donated new and used shoes, from fur-lined boots to flashy sneakers, lined the table. Many came from a donation box the family had left at medical marijuana dispensary WP Nation, which is owned by their close friends. Others were given to Kyler's cause after word spread on social media.
Kyler hopes to hold a second giveaway at another neighborhood near the school in the near future.
"He's being a positive role model even after being bullied," said his father, Nicholas Nipper. "He's setting an example for other people to be more kind, especially the kids who are doing the bullying."
More than a dozen people stopped by the table and walked away with new digs. One girl couldn't find the right size, so Kyler's mother, Sherise Nipper, made a note to get a special pair for her. Another woman picked up a pair of maroon suede boots and asked, "How much?"
"It's free," Sherise told her. "Everything is free because we love you."
Marcus Cross, a sophomore at Pine Creek High School who lives next door to Kyler's family, thanked them for a new pair of Nike sneakers.
"You don't get to see something like this every day," Cross said.
Contact Rachel Riley: 636-0108