Tag archive for "Team World Vision"

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

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.

The Reason

Inspiration

The Reason

No Comments 12 October 2009

I woke up today at 3:00 AM along with my volunteers, also known as Mom, Dad and Mac, my older son who you might remember from a previous post about what happened at the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. We all awoke from a short nights rest, ready to go to Charity Village as soon as we could in hopes of getting our booth set up at the Team World Vision tent. As I took the onramp onto Lake Shore Drive I noticed a couple people sleeping in the park on the west side of Lake Shore Drive under a blanket.  A blanket which I’m sure did nothing to keep them warm in the 32 degree weather.  Mac and I looked at each other and said to one another that they were the exact reason we were up before most of the population in the city on a Sunday morning.

Sidestepping all the mud in Charity Village from the previous days rainfall we made our way to the Team World Vision tent and began to set up. At about 6:30 AM the runners for Team World Vision gathered and began to overtake us with the 386 pairs of moderately worn shoes they had no more use for.  From there they proceeded to the start line for the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

The Reason

The Reason

Little did one of them know that their pair of shoes were about to become the reason that Give Your Sole exists.  A gentleman came walking through Charity Village and we soon realized the significance of that name.  He was obviously a man without a home or a good pair of shoes and asked what we were doing.  We explained to him that we were collecting shoes for people in need and from that point on our mission statement became a moment of action.  My number one supporter all my life, Mom, and now volunteer, sat him down and dug through the trash bags of shoes until he set his eyes on a nice pair of red and white Nikes. Off came his black tennis shoes that weighed him down and on went the lighter pair, a pair of shoes that he was incredibly grateful to have.  The smile on his face confirmed they fit and that he was pleased with the exchange.

A perfect fit

A perfect fit

It was obvious to Mom, Dad, Mac and I that the Good Lord put us in the position to help this man who had to walk through thousands of people to reach Charity Village and find our booth.  Not only that, but think about how many miles this man has walked and how many miles this pair of shoes has seen only to come together at that moment.

I’m sure I’ll never see him again but I know that every time I see a red and white pair of Nikes I will also see this man and realize that he is what made this pair special.


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