Growing up, you kind of just imagine that anything is possible. As we grow, and age we realize that unless we really dig in, change does not just happen. Today’s world is a different world and because we travel so much more than before, change everywhere is needed. My teens are seeing a different world through the reality of travel. Sometimes what they see is eye-opening.
The world we live in can be a very challenging place for young adults, I know I have a few of my own. What I always tell my kids is that change begins as an outgrowth of your passion. Change is infectious and can truly make big differences when you follow what drives you. Travel is something that is not affordable to everyone, but through church programs, many that could not travel can.
As my children work on projects within our church, they begin to understand change and how working together builds a stronger wall. Change and positive change comes about when it starts without our youth and then carries into our communities.
Through our church and young teen community, they have found a way to support other places in the world and our local community. Here’s how young adults use shoes and travel to help communities worldwide.
How Young Adults Use Shoes and Travel To Help Communities Worldwide
The Story Behind Change
Change happens when a process that is much needed is not in place. In fact, change began for one of my kids when they discovered others needed help. Journeys to foreign destinations are a large part of our lives in my family.
Many young adults crave travel but simply can’t afford it. The area the church was traveling on a mission trip with teens from our church was Honduras. Many teens wanted to go but the funding for them was just not available.
My boys soon learned that others in the area may not be so fortunate. What they learned is that there are ways to help others travel and when they travel they also help the countries they were headed too. Stepping right up to help others, they allowed what they already knew to help them fuel the donations.
Our Previous Travel Lent A Hand In Understanding
Our teens had already experienced life in the Dominican Republican and they knew that every pair of shoes could make a difference. Seeing is believing while affirmation sealed the deal, that somehow they could help other countries. Moreover, they could help fix right in their own community to live the dream of travel.
Here my kids brought bags of pencils, colored pencils and other donations to provide. There they learned that it costs over $120 for a school uniform, which is exactly what family makes.
Often children have to be chosen between in a household, who will go to school because of the financial poverty. Additionally, the shoes cost an additional $60. Shoes, something that can be donated and makes a change. Impactful first-hand experience.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Once we learned that our church had a Shoe Drive set up to offset the cost of the trip for those who could not afford it, simply getting involved was closure to helping both the destination and those who wanted to go!
Additionally, we learned that the shoes were going to be donated to those in need in that country! Worldwide help and local community help were all under one roof with one drive. They were amazed and ready to dig in! Shoes and travel really go together well!
First, my teens told our immediate family members to clean out their closet, pair up their shoes and give them to us. Then, my teens cleaned out their own shoes, ridding what they don’t use, or have outgrown. Pairing each setup, bagging them and getting ready to help out others locally and worldwide.
Further, my kids asked me to place a note on our local community website as a call to action to our neighbors to donate and I did. Shoes were dropped off by the 100’s to our church only minutes away.
Last, they marked our calendar for the drive at our church and made sure our used shoes were dropped off on time, to the right location so we could make an impact on those 10’s of thousands of pairs needed to finance the trip and be donated to the country in need.
T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge
T-Mobile is the total package when it comes to making nationwide differences and impacting youth. Paralleling so well with what my kids just took on, I can’t help but shout out and share the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge.
Some select young adults and teens will be given tools to change the world for good! The T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge is a nationwide search to find teens and young adults with big ideas around how to create positive long-lasting change in their communities. 6 Top teams will receive an epic prize package!
T-Mobile Changemaker Applicant- Soul2Soul – I Totally Get It!
When I read Soul2Soul’s bio and watched their video, I totally understood their mission. I feel the heart and sole (lol) of their mission because we just experienced something similar. The group’s vision is to reuse and repurpose shoes for low-income communities and athletes.
I believed it is just incredibly thoughtful and smart! At the same time shoes are being repurposed we are being sustainable due to reuse. We had already seen something similar going on in a much smaller scale around our own community.
Just plain good all the way from the toe to the heel! Also something so close to what we were doing in our own community but with even more intent due to the sustainability efforts. Nothing short of impressive and Soul2Soul has my vote on making impactful changes with something as simple as a shoe donation!
“Sole2Soul will collect shoes in usable conditions and donate them to communities in need. The shoe donors will be required to comply with our guidelines, which will be posted on our website. Students can donate used shoes through their coaches and volunteer hours to collect shoes” A plan is in place to help change the world one shoe at a time!
The Difference of Soul2Soul
While I mentioned Soul2Soul is similar, they are also different in their donations and collection of shoes. Collections come from events with them and they are working to help under-funded coaches in public schools. Simply providing repurposed shoes to their students.
Additionally, they add in a bit of story-telling known as the ‘Tale of the Sole’ which is the shoe’s story and running practices that can be offered to the new owner of the shoe!
Grooming Changemakers & How It Worked
The program was launched on March 28, 2018. T-Mobile spent a few months collecting and reviewing over 330 unique and creative entries. Those that make impactful, sustaining changes in communities both near and far. Submissions are from youth teams between the ages of 13 and 23, all across our country.
Then, T-Mobile revealed the top 30 winning submissions and those teams will get to visit T-Mobile Bellevue, for a VIP, all expenses paid lab and mentoring experience as part of the first-ever T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge.
T-Mobile Changemaker Round One
Changemaker Quality – already taking steps to make a difference
Creativity – fresh, innovative ideas that challenge the norm
Commitment – devoted to seeing their project through, and to make a lasting impact
Connection – ability, and openness to work with others in their communities
Immersive Challenge Lab at T-Mobile’s Headquarters
The top 30 selected teams head on out to T-Mobile’s Headquarters in Seattle and receive in-depth mentorship and skills training with T-Mobile senior leadership. Then, they collaborate with their fellow Changemakers. The ultimate goal: turn their revolutionary ideas into reality! Winning teams receive new devices and a portion of $58,000 in seed funding from the T-Mobile Foundation.
The Winners Are…
T-Mobile announced its top six Changemaker Challenge teams. The winners were chosen for their innovative and inspiring changemaker qualities. Kudos to ArtPass, Aware, Dios del Sol, Echo Effect, Peerlift, and The Yellow Tulip Project
Last, T-Mobile brought them all together (the Top 6 teams) & CEO, John Legere saw all six top teams pitch their ideas on Monday. John Legere decided that instead of two CEO Picks, all six top teams are top winners!
Further, Legere announced that he would be making a personal donation of $30,000 to the Top 6 Changemaker Challenge teams – an additional $5,000 per team on top of the $5,000 they have each already received from the T-Mobile Foundation! Total T-Mobile awesomeness!
Learn more about making young adults making changes and how you can make changes by checking out TMobile Changemakers here!
This post is sponsored by T-Mobile.