AGRM Conference 2015

Events, Inspiration, Rescue Missions

AGRM Conference 2015

No Comments 31 May 2015

agrm_logo_cmyk-largeGive Your Sole was honored to be a part of this years Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) annual conference taking place in Bellevue Washington May 27th-30th. AGRM has been on the sidewalks and in the face of what to many has been a faceless problem. AGRM-member facilities have a reputation for being havens of hope for all who enter.

Every year, 300 missions serve nearly 50 million meals, provide more than 20 million nights of lodging, bandage the emotional wounds of thousands of abuse victims, and graduate 18,000- plus individuals from addiction recovery programs.

Our partnership with AGRM is extremely valuable to our process of helping those in need. AGRM has a member organization with facilities and programs in most of the cities where the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series take place. Some of this
weeks highlights included:

  • Met with many interested rescue missions in cities where the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series takes place: LA, AZ, Philly, Nashville, Portland, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, and Virginia Beach
  • Were able to have a pair of Brooks shoes as the centerpiece for every table in the conference
  • Were able to share with all the attendees the importance of GYS’s relationship with Rock ‘n’ Roll and how it contributes to our success and coming to their city
  • With the help of our Washington state partner, Redeeming Soles, we were able to share the story of Brooks donating 3000 pairs and from Costco 1000 pairs to Washington homeless
  • Talked with churches who were in the line of Rock ‘n’ Roll routes to create a plan ahead of the race to reach out to their congregations to get involved in shoe drives and creating GYS running teams

It was an incredible conference showcasing the reach we have and how we can bring value to their rescue missions and communities.

Up next: The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Expo in Seattle, WA – Thursday, June 11 – Saturday, June 13. We look forward to teaming up with our post event “feet on the street” Redeeming Soles at the Expo and Race.  Following on the heels of the AGRM conference we anticipate a record number of donations at this event!

centerpiece AGRM
AGRM stage1

Re-Launching Give Your Sole

Events, Inspiration, Seattle

Re-Launching Give Your Sole

No Comments 09 May 2015

GYS logo final RnR_MarathonSeriesLogo_Horiz2

Dear Friends of Give Your Sole –

I have really missed you all. Thanks to all of you, we were able to accomplish so much in the first four years of the GYS launch.

In the last two years a lot has happened to cause my hiatus from GYS. A couple of full time jobs, families to care for and support, and moving from California to Washington put GYS on the backburner.

Today, I am happy to announce that we are going to take another run at it in a big way! We are blessed to continue our great relationship with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®. This has the potential of eventually putting us in 26 cities across the country throughout the year starting with Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle in June!

We have also advanced our conversations with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM). Our aim is for AGRM to be the primary beneficiary of the shoes we collect at each Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race. This ensures the people who need them most get a pair….or two.

There are several other exciting opportunities on the horizon which I will share when I am able. This gives us hope and confidence that the dream you helped birth can and will become a reality.

Our love for helping those in need has remained deep in our hearts. Together, we can help those less fortunate across the United States.

Let’s run these streets and change lives together!

All things good,

Brett

Founder of Give Your Sole

Inspiration

Boston. In our hearts.

No Comments 22 April 2013

Letter to Give Your Sole Friends and Everyone in Boston

Lil’ Sole Mates

Inspiration

Lil’ Sole Mates

No Comments 02 November 2010

Hanging with the Kids from Sundance Elementary School

One of the great joys of  being the founder of Give Your Sole is the people I get to meet.  I met Shari Scholte, the Mileage Club Leader for Sundance Elementary School, at the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and 1/2 this year.  Shari asked me if it would be alright to email me in hopes of organizing her mileage club kids to collect shoes on behalf of Give Your Sole.

The aim of the Feelin’ Good Mileage Club is to:

  • Motivate youth to become fit.
  • Help students gain an appreciation of walking/jogging/running as lifetime exercises.
  • Aid students in controlling body weight.
  • Serve as an adjunct  to school physical education programs.

In a world of constant competition, the Feelin’ Good Mileage Club encourages individual performance.  Students set personal goals, then strive to achieve those goals.  Fulfillment of these goals builds self-esteem and is emotionally rewarding.

Talk about a perfect fit! Not only is Shari teaching her kids the importance of fitness but also the importance if giving back and helping others. Next step was for me to go pick up the shoes and meet all the kids who participated in the collection. Let me tell ya, talking to a roomful of kids is a heck of a lot easier than talking to a roomful of adults! I had a blast! You can tell by the picture they had fun too; notice the GYS stickers on their foreheads! How many adults do you know would do that in a talk? We talked about the importance of helping others, what it means for a homeless person to have shoes and what they can do to make a difference.

The 15 minutes I shared with these kids I won’t soon forget.  To see the joy in their face, knowing they helped someone reminded me of the importance of our mission. Seeing your organization through the eyes of a child simplifies things.  This group of kids, along with Shari, are a great representation of Sundance Elementary and their school motto:

Today I will be responsible for myself,

My choices,

My learning,

and my attitude.

I will treat myself and others with respect.

And, I will do my personal best,

In everything,

Today!!

Stay Classy Award

Inspiration

Stay Classy Award

No Comments 12 October 2010

We are excited and blessed to be nominated for a Stay Classy Award in the “Most Effective Awareness Campaign” category in four major cities: Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.  We need your vote TODAY to help us win the $10,000 that will go to the winner.  With $10,000 equaling one-third of our budget you can see why your vote really counts! This money will help us attend more events resulting in us providing thousands of people in need with shoes.

Please go HERE to vote for us, starting with Chicago.  Then click each city tab to vote for us in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York.  Please vote in all four cities. Make sure to click “SUBMIT” at the bottom of each voting page to have your vote count.

Thank you very much for your vote and continued support!

Inspiration

Project Full Circle

No Comments 20 June 2010

There are many great organizations in the non-profit world, Project Full Circle, is definitely one to keep an eye on.  Launching in the fall of 2010, Project Full Circle will unite donors and beneficiaries of all sizes, encourage and facilitate meaningful interaction, and elevate awareness of today’s most pressing issues to achieve social change.  Through building an online community for donors, volunteers, corporations and non-profits they create an environment where people and corporations can connect and give to causes they have interest in.  I encourage you to bookmark their site and take a minute to read this blog post that better explains what lies ahead for Project Full Circle.

This is an organization I really look forward to seeing get started in helping all of us on the non-profit side connect with people around the globe that we might not normally have the opportunity to due to our location.  It will be nice to know that because of Project Full Circle a Give Your Sole donor or volunteer will be able to make a connection with us and create positive change in the lives of those we are trying to help.

A Painful Reminder

Inspiration

A Painful Reminder

1 Comment 09 May 2010

When Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake I decided I had to do something in hopes of making a difference in the lives of those affected by the tragedy. Being friends with the national director of  Team World Vision I knew that any money raised on their behalf would be used wisely to help the people of Haiti, so I decided to run the OC Marathon.  To be honest, a couple things crossed my mind at the time of making this decision.  One was, I’m about to ask people to donate $2500 to an organization other than Give Your Sole knowing that we really need the funds to continue our work too.  Second, I knew without a doubt, the people of Haiti still needed it more than we did. Lives were at stake. Children were left homeless, motherless and fatherless. Our $2500 could wait. So, I began to train and ask for money.  The following is what took place Sunday, May 2nd as I ran the OC Marathon.

Go Team World Vision

I awoke to my trusty blackberry alarm at 5:30 am to put on my race gear I had laid out the night before.  The race began in one hour from the time I rolled out of bed; no sweat. I started the day like every other day when I head out for a run.  Every runner knows, you never change the routine if you have any plans on finishing.  Pasta the night before, and nothing crazy in the morning. So far, so good.  Meanwhile, while I was getting ready, friends of mine were getting the Give Your Sole booth set up for finish line shoe collections as runners finished the 5k, half marathon and full marathon.

My family and I decided to stay the night before at a nearby hotel only to avoid the race day morning traffic and street closures. (Totally worth it, by the way!) I walked out my hotel door at 6am with a half hour to spare. Eating my banana and Clif Bar I walked to the start line with 13,000 other eager participants.  All I could think about was how great it would be if all these runners knew about Give Your Sole and our goal of making sure every homeless person in this country had shoes on their feet.

Potential Donors

As I began to stretch I worked my way towards the start line to where the announcer was, in hopes of having him share a plug about Give Your Sole and our cause.  I’d met Rudy, the announcer, at the expo a couple days prior to race day and he was very kind and supportive of our cause.  As I progressed closer to the starting line, Rudy, all of a sudden mentioned to all the participants about Give Your Sole. Wow! I couldn’t have been more grateful! Minutes later the horn sounded and we were off.  Some of us focused on the half marathon, others, the full.

As I began my run everything felt fine.  Then. As I approached mile 12. Blisters! On the bottom of each arch. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” I’ve never gotten blisters but today was a different story. This point of the race is where decisions are made. Do I go for the half marathon and finish with grace or continue on with the full marathon as promised to my donors?

Decision Time

I chose the latter. After all, I made a promise, a promise to the people of Haiti that I would run for them.  Not much after the decision was made the blisters got worse.  What came next was unexpected. Cramps. Both quads cramped at about mile 15. As if that wasn’t enough, my groin and calves cramped soon thereafter.  I had to walk off the cramps for about 1/4 mile and run 3/4 of a mile. I would do this routine the rest of the race.  Not pretty by any means. Not in my plan at all. Funny thing is, it really wasn’t ‘my’ plan anyhow.

But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. – Matthew 7:14

While the pain came and went like the tide, I realized this was not at all about me. It was about the money that everyone donated because of those in need in Haiti. My personal disappointment was far more irrelevant than what was taking place and continues to take place in Haiti. World Vision continues to work towards relief of those still suffering.  If you would like to help in some way, you can still DONATE in hopes of reaching our goal of $2500.

As I came up on the finish line, an hour later than planned, my wife and son awaited me. There they stood cheering me on as though that hour I gained meant nothing. As I hobbled towards the Give Your Sole booth bodies lay everywhere. From the looks of things you would have thought a triage unit was needed. By the time I reached my booth, I was starting to feel better. I asked the team working the booth what our count was for shoes. 140 pairs. Another disappointment or should I say, ‘personal’ disappointment.  I guess sometimes it’s not about how many but how many it will help. That reminds me….

I had hoped for more pairs, but then again, one pair can make all the difference.

Man on the street receiving a pair

A Hardly Normal Encounter

Inspiration

A Hardly Normal Encounter

1 Comment 21 April 2010

From left to right: Stephan (from Path Achieve), Tim Daley (volunteer with GYS), Mark Horvath (invisiblepeople.tv), Myself

From left to right: Stephan (from Path Achieve), Tim Daley (volunteer with GYS), Mark Horvath (invisiblepeople.tv), Myself

When I started Give Your Sole almost a year ago I joined Twitter in hopes of meeting other people who make it a point in their life to do what they can to make a difference in this world.  I started to follow many different charitable organizations and those who run them.  I came across a guy who went by the handle @hardlynormal and had Animal from the Muppets as his avatar photo.  @hardlynormal runs a site called invisiblepeople.tv that tells the stories, via video, of people across this nation who are homeless. The combination of his handle, Animal and his site told me this was a guy who wasn’t worried about ruffling feathers when it came to bringing attention to the biggest issue our country, and others, will face this century – homelessness and poverty.

I began to tweet and re-tweet between those I followed.  Eventually @hardlynormal and I connected on the phone but missed a few opportunities to meet.  That all changed this past week.  I collected 180 pairs from some of my Southern California donors: Competitor Group, Rehab United and The Design People. I knew that @hardlynormal worked a lot with Path Achieve in Glendale.  Path Achieve works to help people who are homeless get back on track and place them in permanent housing.  I got in touch with @hardlynormal and shared with him I had 180 pairs I needed to donate and wanted to meet up with him at Path Achieve.  To my luck, he was all for it!

A good friend of mine and GYS volunteer, Tim Daley, and I loaded my truck with all the shoes and headed to Glendale.  We arrived a bit early, which I planned on, in hopes of catching @hardlynormal doing one of his many webinars on social media.  Sure enough, he sat down at a table in the middle of the shelter minutes after my arrival and began.  A man on a mission.  Bringing awareness to the homeless issue all through use of social media.  The webinar lasted about a half hour.  As the webinar continued Tim and Stephan, a Path Achieve Case Manager, began to sort the shoes by sizes as our next step would be to hit the streets of Glendale California in search of people in need of shoes.

As we hopped in the van and set out through the streets of Glendale to hand out shoes, you would have thought Stephan and @hardlynormal were running for Mayor.  They knew every person on the street, by name!  “Oh, there’s Bill.  That’s where Jim stays. That’s where Ellie sleeps. Man, I hate to see John out here again, just wish he would come into the shelter.”  This went on the whole time we were out. The shoes give Stephan a reason to approach each person which helps create that first step in building a relationship. If Stephan can get a conversation going he will do everything he can to try and help that person off the street and into Path Achieve so they can help them find permanent housing.

These fit better

These fit better

The gentleman adjusting his ball cap in this picture was in dire need of some shoes and we asked him his size.  He said he was a 10 or 10 1/2. Luckily we had both sizes with us but I also grabbed an 11 (just so happened to be a pair of shoes Tim donated) out of the back of the van just in case. First we tried the 10 1/2 and they were too tight.  Next was the 11, Tims pair, and they fit like a glove. The reason I share this with you is many people can’t remember their shoe size.  In some cases it has been years since they tried on a new pair of shoes.  Either they can’t remember the size of their feet or their feet are so swollen from walking all day, every day, all year, that their normal size doesn’t fit anymore.

Dottie found a pair

Dottie found a pair

Next we came across Dottie. From @hardlynormal’s reaction when we turned the corner and saw her on the street you would have thought he just won the lottery. He was so filled with joy he couldn’t stop shouting in the van, “There’s Dottie, there’s Dottie!”  We pulled the van up next to her and @hardlynormal jumped out of the van so filled with excitement he almost got himself attacked by Dottie’s dog.  My first thought was, how tough it would be to have a dog on the street; but it was obvious she took good care of it and he took good care of her.  As @hardlynormal and Stephan talked with Dottie, Tim and I dug through the shoes to find her a pair.  Again, it took 3 pairs to finally find the right size for her.  We offered her another pair but she insisted we keep them for someone else who might need them.  Dottie is someone I won’t soon forget and I quickly realized what @hardlynormal saw in her. Then again, @hardlynormal sees something special in everyone he comes in contact with.

The Poor. The Needy. The Less Fortunate. Call it whatever makes you comfortable or uncomfortable for that matter, but at least recognize it and do something.  That’s what Mark Horvath, aka @hardlynormal, did.  So he picked up a video camera and is showing the world what it means to be homeless, ways to make a difference and what it looks like to be relentless in getting the message out there.

Thanks Mark for sharing with me your passion, your knowledge, and that we can always do more. That we must do more.

Beyond the shoes….

Inspiration

Beyond the shoes….

1 Comment 21 March 2010

Kevin Crank

Kevin Crank

Sometimes taking that first step goes well beyond the shoes youre wearing. In fact, finding the courage to stand is, at times, an accomplishment all its own. In learning of Kevin Cranks story, there isnt a more fitting statement.

Kevin Crank was your everyday teenager a relatively shy guy, who loved to race BMX bikes, held a devotion for his brothers and sister, who would describe him as easy going, generous, loving and strong.

In October of 2008, Kevin was critically injured in a devastating car accident. He broke his back, hip, pelvic bone and several ribs. The accident resulted in damage to his lung, spleen and liver, and caused severe head trauma; there was no immediate sign of brain activity. The months that followed resulted in brutal battles with pneumonia, a failing immune system, a continued vegetative state, multiple incorrect diagnoses and treatments, in addition to the obvious emotional toll on his spirit and his family.

Kevin in the hospital

Kevin in the hospital

Faced with the confrontational bureaucracy of health insurance, but committed to getting Kevin an advanced treatment procedure that focuses on traumatic brain injuries called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (www.hbotreatment.com), his family began their own, privately organized fund-raising efforts.

Once secured, the results of the treatment were immediate, and though his fight continues today through physical therapy and continued H.B.O.T. treatment, Kevins resiliency has proven it truly isnt about how many times you get knocked down in life that matters, it’s how you handle yourself getting up.

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Kevin is now walking again, and trying to rebuild and resume his life.

Eternally grateful for the support of loved-ones and strangers alike in his time of need, Kevin feels committed to giving back in the same way.

On April 10, 2010 Kevin will be joining his friends and family as part of Team Hopkins, participating in the Lake Havasu 5K and half marathon in Arizona. Kevin has chosen to work with GIVE YOUR SOLE for this race.

Life is about taking chances. Sometimes its about second chances. That is what Kevin Crank learned firsthand, in the hardest of ways.

In his discovery of our organization through a mutual friend, Kevin has come to believe that is what GIVE YOUR SOLE is about declaring what were doing goes beyond the shoes.

We hope to offer an opportunity to take that first step in the right direction, no matter where you’ve been, to get back on your feet with dignity, when the world has knocked you down.

GIVE YOUR SOLE is so proud to be sharing this race with Kevin and Team Hopkins, and looks forward to the many steps ahead, for him and all those he helps on April 10th.

Such an Amazing young man.

Such an Amazing young man.

To learn more about Kevins journey please visit:

www.kevincrank.blogspot.com

www.havasuhalf.com

New Friendships

Inspiration

New Friendships

No Comments 02 March 2010

Me with Michael Chitwood, National Director of Team World Vision

Me with Michael Chitwood, National Director of Team World Vision

When I started Give Your Sole back in May of 2009 I didn’t have a clue on where to begin. I’d been in the business world for years, opening and operating restaurants, switching to a career in sales, but decided that life had to be more about helping others, so along side of working in sales I figured, ‘How hard could it be to run a non-profit!’ I’m not so sure that “hard” is the best word to describe it as much as “time consuming”.

The great thing about the non-profit world is that when you call someone to share with them about your organization they usually are open to listening and often times eager to assist in any way possible to help you grow. In sales, when you call someone, people can’t get off the phone fast enough. One day in Chicago I made a call to someone who I was referred to by a contact I had in California.  My contact told me I had to call this guy at Team World Vision named Michael Chitwood and that he would have some great incite on getting started. Michael is the National Director and developer of Team World Vision.  I thought, ‘No way is this guy going to have time for me.’ Boy, was I wrong. Not only did Michael make time for me, but he’s made it a goal to do everything he can to make sure Give Your Sole is at as many events that Team World Vision attends.  Not because we give his organization the shoes we collect (fact of the matter is, we don’t donate any to them because we donate locally), but because he believes in our organization.

Here is Michael with some of the Team World Vision runners

Here is Michael with some of the Team World Vision runners

I’m a firm believer that as I meet people along the way of building this organization it is my responsibility to share with others the many great people and other non-profits I am introduced to along the way. Let me tell you a little about Michael. He is a young, energetic, long distance running, God loving husband, who has the heart of a lion and is willing to do anything to bring awareness to the poverty crisis spanning the globe. He’s one of those people who when you are around them you can’t help but want to tackle the issues that plague this world and attack them head on. He is currently training to run 50 miles to help change the lives of Africa’s Children.  He runs for The Ultimate Cause. He understands the sacrifices made to run a non-profit. He understands the joys and heartaches that come with the territory. He understands what it’s like when all you want to do is help people and run into resistance when trying to do so. He understands what it’s like to have a family while trying to influence the lives of other families that are broken. He understands what it means to be a friend to someone who is working to grow an organization with intentions of making it a lifetime commitment. He understands the pure joy found in bringing people together for a common goal to help those less fortunate.

Give Your Sole has blessed me with meeting incredible people that I never would have met had I not started this organization. I am grateful for Michael opening his heart to hearing what I had to say that first meeting about Give Your Sole and for the inspiration he continues to pass on. I have a long way to go in building Give Your Sole but know that by meeting people like Michael, the people who donate at our events and the people we donate the shoes to, we are on the right track.

It is by giving to others that we find ourselves as well as making friends in the process.

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