Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Essay Entry to TOMS Shoes to Deliver Shoes to Children in Durban,South Africa

I would love to take advantage of this opportunity for so many reasons. The main being that it would be a great example of what I have raised my son to believe. I am a single mom in NYC. I had my son when I was 17 and all the time I heard what life should be like for me because I had him so young, and was unwed, and being raised in one of the hardest areas of the South Bronx. I never bought into the hype. I have always believed that you can do whatever it is you set your mind to, and when you get to that place you to come back and help those who have less than you. Then and only then can you call yourself a decent human being when you put materialism, money and things that just don’t matter aside and you judge and allow yourself to be judged based solely on your actions against others. My son Jalan will be 14 in December and I am constantly telling him that one of the greatest things you can do in life is be a great human being first! Everything else is Secondary. One of the best ways to be a great person is to help others especially those in need. Not only do you make them feel good but you feel good! From the time he was a baby I have instilled the value of sharing and caring for others. So by me doing this he would see I practice what I preach. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for children; they are the most precious gifts that can be placed on this earth. They are our legacy and if we don't teach them compassion and empathy now for one another the human race will be in major trouble. I would love to see the expressions on their faces, to be given something as simple as a pair of shoes, something that so many of us take for granted. I went to Nicaragua recently and stayed in a hostel and upon leaving I asked one of the women who worked there what size clothing she wore. I went to my room and literally gave her clothes that I knew once I got home I would probably not wear again but to her it was a whole new wardrobe. Things like this are embedded in my core they are a part of my DNA. Some of my hero’s share my zodiac sign and helping people is what we do. I am an Aquarius and I have the pleasure of being in the company of Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey,Bob Marley, all of whom are not only great people but are also outstanding Humanitarians. This work is what I am meant to do it truly is my passion. So not only would I be honored, humbled, and proud to be a part of this Mission. It would just add another piece to the puzzle that will eventually complete my legacy and the memory I want to leave my son with of his Mother. In so many ways parents want to be proud of their children. I want my son to be proud of his Mom. I want him to see that life is bigger than here and now. It stretches far and wide and as long as you are willing to see the bigger picture you will always be rewarded. Also that fact that life doesn’t end once the breath has left our bodies. The work we have done, the people we have inspired, the memories we have created, the people we have helped all of these things will live on for 3 lifetimes. This would be a gift to him and me. I have overcome so much in my life and I am truly grateful and thankful for any and every opportunity that I get to help someone is very important to me. I would hope that me doing something like this would inspire more people to take action and figure out ways that they can help others. Shoes are so important and symbolic they give us balance, protection; they are the base of our foundation. With shoes we are not limited we can run, dance, walk, ride a bike, jump rope kick cans, climb trees, make or break our outfits etc. I don’t think anyone more than me would love to live in a place where you never had to wear shoes but it’s just not the type of world we live in. With shoes these children are not getting just some free footwear they are getting a piece of reality, they are getting freedom to kick cans, climb trees and run and play like all other children. Sometimes I wish if we would just put our own crap aside and paid attention to others we would be so much better off. Sometimes all you need is for someone to give you a chance or maybe a little push in the right direction. These children will now have confidence that may not have existed within in them before, this may give them the power to walk down a new road, discover a new place like a library. They will grow up to remember this one simple act of kindness and turn it into their own mission. So many doors have been opened by TOMS for these children. They have been given a solid foundation which is the basis and must have for all things successful. To be a part of this would be a Dream come true for me! I am so glad that companies like TOMS exist it lets me know that I am on the right path. So many people have called me crazy for volunteering with different organizations, or ask why would you want to do that for free? No longer do I explain. I simply reply “Because I’m helping people and it makes me feel good”

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