The California State University (CSU) with its twenty-three campuses and 480,000+ students is the largest public higher education system in the US. Not surprisingly, the CSU-Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association (CSU-ERFA) is the largest organization of retired and emeritus faculty in the nation. Given the unanticipated honor of being elected to serve as President of CSU-ERFA, I have proposed a number of goals. One of them, which is very important to me, is the CSU Million Shoe Campaign in partnership with Soles4Souls (S4S). My co-chair for this endeavor is Emeritus Professor, Barbara Sinclair.
We piloted the S4S shoe drive at my home campus (CSU Dominguez Hills) over a year ago. Building on the lessons we learned, we expanded to CSU Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona, and San Diego State. This academic year the 38,000-student Cal State Long Beach campus is going to join the ranks. Barbara and I are working with the S4S staff to recruit other CSU campuses to implement this indirect and non-monetary approach to fighting poverty.
Obviously, the major goal of the S4S program is to provide shoes for those who lack any or adequate footwear. However, doing it at a university has a number of other important advantages. It is a campus-wide project involving students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and corporate donors. It also allows the campus to reach out into the community and collect shoes from local schools and cities as well as churches, synagogues, temples, gyms, and a vast variety of other types of organizations. The public relations and organizational pay-offs have been incredible. Let’s fight poverty collectively!!!
Barbara and I, in conjunction with the S4S staff, would love to work with colleges and universities throughout the country to expand the marvelous program!!
S4S Team 10/03/2017
Thank you, Bill and Barbara, for all these years of great support. We appreciate you and our partnership!
Incredible people make up the team of this charity with their heart in the right place and believing they can make the world a better place. Altruism is rare and precious, and the experience of giving someone a smile because of the items S4S collects is worth more than all the money in the world!
I've been involved with Soles4Souls since 2014 and since that time I've collected 1134 pairs of gently worn shoes. It's such an easy concept to get your arms and heart around.....everyone has a pair of shoes or two that can be donated and there are so many children in this world that desperately need a pair of shoes in order to attend school and stave off a bad infection that potentially could kill them. I also love the concept of sustainability and the work that Soles4Souls does with the individuals who set up shop to sell the shoes therefore putting food on their tables and roofs over their heads.
I wanted to go full circle and see my work at hand so in March 2017 I took an amazing trip to the Dominican Republic. My thoughts on the trip ended up in verse;
Life is found in giving a piece of your life away
Giving a slice of your heart and a bit of your soul to someone in need
Getting outside of yourself and looking into the eyes of another...with care
Being present in the moment
Being here for them
A wash of the feet
Creating a memory that can't be taken away
Life is heavy, life is light, life is meant to be shared with others
I encourage all of you to begin to collect those shoes or donate dollars to the cause of Wearing Out Poverty. I continue to collect shoes for Soles4Souls and can't wait until my next trip with them.
S4S Team 08/19/2017
What a beautiful poem, Mimi! It’s amazing what can happen when we leave our comfort zones for a while and look into the eyes of those in need, seeing and honoring their humanity. Thank you for being a part of this work!
AMAZING team! Can't wait to he's to Haiti in April!
Traveled to Guatemala with S4S in 2013. The need there was incredible. We gave shoes to children who usually walked barefoot to school. They had cuts, bruises, and calluses on their feet. One little girl cried as I washed her feet. All she could say was "thank you." We also visited a dump where people live. They go through the trash to find food, clothes, and things to make their homes. They don't get the luxury of new things. I will never forget the looks on their faces when we handed out shoes. I've never felt so needed. It's humbling. You don't realize how lucky you are until you see people in real need. And I got to help them. This organization is amazing. S4S takes the simple act of giving out shoes to a whole new level. What this organization does is give people hope. Give them peace and joy. Traveling with S4S changed my life.
A group of friends and I have partnered with Soles4Souls for the past 2 years and are in the process of working with them again in 2016. We have collect 2,000 shoes in honor of a dear friend who lost her battle with Cervical Cancer in 2013. This is a wonderful organization that is making a HUGE impact on the world through something as simple as shoes. We feel very blessed to be able to have such an amazing partnership with them! Give HOPE. Give SHOES.
Soles4Souls commitment to "Wearing out Poverty" is outstanding. They are organized, personable with genuine staff members who put 100% in to everything they work on. I have never been happier working with a charity and love the simpleness of giving shoes to give someone a chance in life.
I have went on two Travel4Souls trips and had an amazing time! I also went with my church on a mission trip and we distributed shoes via Soles4Souls as well this past month.
Kelly H is an amazing leader and has a heart of gold. I visited both Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Haiti over the past year and have helped give over 1000 pairs of new shoes to children, as well as, used shoes to many others. I believe in continuing to engage my friends and neighbors throughout my community in shoe drives and hopefully encouraging them to also be a part of Travel4Souls one day! I highly recommend signing up for a trip. It'll change your life!
Soles4souls was a wonderful experience and would highly recommend it to anyone! I enjoyed the people, culture of Tanzania and the beauty of the country! I never realized ALL I would personally take away from such a great trip! I thought about all I would have to do and give to make this trip possible, but the return on your time and expense is PRICELESS :)
My advise to anyone thinking about joining Soles4souls, is this "just do it". Find a country you would like to visit and sign up, everything else will fall into place and it will be a trip you will remember for a life time!
Tanzania Trip 2013
I went to Costa Rica with Sole4Souls and experienced so much. Not only do they help connect us with the children who we passed out shoes to but we got to see some of the city and did some touring as well. Everything was well organized, and we were cared for very well and the coordinator made sure we felt at home the entire time.
My 16 year old son and I went on the trip to Honduras with S4S. It was an amazing & humbling experience. We went to an Orphanage called Emmanuel and put shoes on 100+ kids feet and had the opportunity to stay at the orphanage and play with the children. Our fearless leader Kelly was amazing and we felt very safe at all times. I would highly recommend this trip. We are planning another trip for next year. Muchas Gracias
My school collected shoes for Soles4Souls and the entire community got behind this wonderful organization. I cannot say enough good things about Soles4Souls. They were eager to accept our 2500 pairs of shoes. Then I traveled with Soles4Souls to Costa Rica to help give shoes to needy children. What a rewarding and life changing experience. They do so much more than giving away shoes. Their partners in other countries reach out to find the individuals that are the most in need. The Soles4Souls coordinator that traveled with us to Costa Rica went the extra mile to make sure we had a memorable experience. Back in the United States I even met the CEO of Soles4Souls and he too showed how each person associated with them have the passion and dedication to making a difference in the world. I have volunteered in the community for over 30 years and I can say I have never experienced an organization of this caliber that truly makes a difference in not only the United States but in the world.
My husband and I went on a trip to Haiti with Soles4Souls and were impressed not only with the quality and character of the leaders but with their commitment and passion to making a positive and sustainable difference where it is so desperately needed. To see the impact up close and personal, and to be given the opportunity to be a part of it, was nothing less than life-changing. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
I sit on the Board of two other nonprofits and Soles4soles blows me away. There's a huge difference between an organization that will sit around a fancy boardroom once a month talking about getting things done and my experience with Soles4Soles. Soles4Souls...they don't just talk....they" just do it...." Kelly, you are a great leader . God Bless all those children in the Orphanage Emmanuel in Honduras. So far....my absolute favorite trip with Soles4souls!!!! See you next time! Chris N. (PS, swear I'm taking a spanish class..)
I went on a trip with my college as a humanitarian and global outreach project. This was a ground breaking trip for my small Methodist college and I believe this was the perfect organization to use. They were very organized and transparent.
The process of collecting, sorting, boxing and shipping off shoes to a country in need, was an interesting process. However, the experience became real when we actually handed out the shoes to the children in Costa Rica.
Seeing the living conditions and hearing stories of abuse, neglect, and filth in the squatter villages made me want to cry. However, seeing the children dancing and singing gave me hope. Again, it made me realize how fortunate we really are.
We are so fortunate to not have to worry about clothes or shoes.
We wake up every morning with the LUXURY of CHOICE and DECISION…what outfit or WHICH shoes should I wear today.
Even though we did not speak the same language, the smile on their faces and the twinkle in their eyes when a new pair of shoes were put on their feet said it all.
Shoes and clothing are collected to take to Haiti. A high school friend is leading a shoe drive in the Middle TN area to take the love to Haiti. She has engaged so many to help, that it has been an inspiration to everyone involved. LOVE this nonprofit and everyone involved in making it a success!!!
They put their feet to the ground and start walking. You couldn't ask for a non profit to be more focused.
This is a phenomenal organization! I have been fortunate enough to travel with S4S four times in two years and have cherished my experiences. I never would have had the resources, courage or organization to travel to a third world country without their support. The execution of each trip I have taken has been excellent and all of the staff I have ever interacted with are passionate, organized, interesting and genuinely fun, kind people! The trips allow you to do necessary service, interact with recipients of the shoes, experience the country's culture and feel safe, supported and protected.
An AMAZING organization...altruistic....when you give...it will go.....exactly how you desired! We have been involved with S4S for nearly 3 years, had the wonderful fortune to travel to Haiti and learn about these beautifully ambitious people....This non-profit will be in OUR lives for a long, long time!