Monday, May 28, 2012

Sole Hope

This year for my daughter’s birthday, she wanted to have an African theme.   I LOVE planning my kids’ birthday parties around a theme so early on we ordered a slew of animal print favors from Oriental Trading, picked up some National Geographic giraffe note cards in the dollar bin at Michael’s to use as invitations and the planning began.
The goody bags
We weren’t sure what kind of activity we would do or what charity she wanted to raise money for at the party. I googled different ideas and there were several that were possibilities but we just weren’t sure how to tie it all in together.  I read several adoption blogs and one evening was reading a blog of someone that was at an adoption conference and it included pictures of the booth for their organization and next to them was a booth for Sole Hope.  I went to their website and read all about them.  Children in eastern Africa suffer from jiggers, awful insects that burrow into childrens feet and make them sick.  Sole Hope helps in two ways.   First, they provide employment to widows through teaching them the trade of shoemaking.  Second, the shoes are then given to children in western Africa that have no shoes.  The children are also educated through a story book about why wearing shoes are important.   If that isn't wonderful enough, the soles are made from recycled tires, the heels are made from recycled plastic (such as milk jugs), recycled jeans and fabric.

I thought their shoe-party kits would be perfect for my daughter’s birthday party.  I ordered the kit for 10 people and it arrived within a few days. We watched the video and made a list of supplies we would need. I saved milk jugs and jeans and bought ½ yards of fabrics we liked that were on clearance. 

Prepping for the party, cutting out shoe pieces from old jeans.

Pieces ready to go!

A friend who had been to Africa donated Shetenges (wrap skirts) for the girls to wear. Everyone had a blast! Even though this is a serious and sad problem, the kids got the message of hope that SoleHope is all about. They even got the meaning of the name. It was great to see all the moms come pick their kids up and the first thing they asked were, “Can I see what you guys made?” and I got to explain to them all about this great organization.

Decorating the denim and tracing their chosen fabric.

Shoe Making Checklist

The completed product ready to send to Sole Hope to make 1 pair of shoes.

The cake- simple to make with printed sugar paper, available where cake supplies are sold.
The kids watched the SoleHope promo video before making the shoes so they understood the what and why of the organization.  I think that was the best part of the whole party. It really opened their eyes to why we were doing this.  Instead of gifts, the girls made donations to sponsor the shoes. In all we were able to make and sponsor 12 pairs of shoes!

We made hair ties out of the fabric to remind everyone of the shoes we cut out.
Would you like to have a SoleHope birthday party or a shoe cutting party for you church or organization?  I would be happy to answer any questions and help out in anyway.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Purposeful Reading

If you’re looking for a purposeful read, check out Half the Sky by Pulitzer prize winning authors Nicholas B. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, a husband and wife team.  Half the Sky refers to a Chinese saying that Women hold up half the sky.  The book is about the plight of women globally.  It reads a little like a college textbook, filled with statistics but they are sprinkled throughout real (and moving) stories.  It starts off a little somber, but builds you up to hope in the end.  It is an eye-opening book that will have you feeling grateful for the life you have and inspired to help others.  There is even a 2 part documentary planned for PBS this fall based on the stories in the book.

If you are looking to inspire your children (and summer reading is right around the corner), there are some great books that will help convey clearly how a seemingly small act of kindness can make a big difference.  Beatrice’s Goat by Page McBrier and One Hen – How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway are good choices.  Both have excellent illustrations too.  You can read the follow up to the true story of Beatrice and her goat here.

Read, be inspired, get motivated, make a difference.   

Monday, May 7, 2012


Sevenly is a t-shirt company with a purpose.  They are unique in that each week they support a different charity and the t-shirt that they offer is unique to that charity.  For example, last week their charity was Heifer International.  There was a men's t-shirt, a women's t-shirt, tank and a sweatshirt for men and one for women.  It is only available for that week and the next week the charity changes as do the corresponding items.  I like the limited edition concept, because once the week is over those items are gone (just keep that in mind when you order), you cannot order the items from previous weeks.  Not only does each purchase raise funds ($7 per item goes to the charity of the week), it also helps raise awareness for that charity.  The artwork featured is not typical t-shirt fare. 

My experience with them?  I ordered a women's sweatshirt in x-large.  Typical of women's fit, the item runs slim.  The sweatshirt is very soft on the inside.  I ordered the item on a Friday evening, and received confirmation that the item had shipped the following Thursday.  The item arrived Saturday. Shipping was $5.99.

My Sevenly Sweatshirt supporting Heifer International
Check them out and learn about some great causes.