Friday, January 11, 2008

Individual Initiative 

One trait Americans pride themselves on is our ability to do something about X if we think X needs to be done. Many of us don't turn to the government to "fix" it, we find a way to fix it ourselves. In addition, Americans give, and give, and give - more than any nation's population on the planet. You will hear from the UN types how much more Europeans give as compared to Americans but what the UN types do not include is the amount of private donations by Americans. When these private amounts are included, Americans out donate any and every nation on the planet.

I read Guideposts Magazine because it has positive articles, ones that show ordinary people overcoming whatever befalls them. The January 2008 issue has a great story of a single mom, Mona Purdy, who had gone through a divorce and subsequently overindulged her kids. She took a trip to Guatemala and saw local kids putting tar on the soles of their feet to minimize lacerations and infections from the soil. Typically American, she asked herself what she could do to help these kids.

The question became, "What do Americans do with shoes?" Many of our shoes are in good shape when we get rid of them. She decided to collect shoes from neighbors, friends, etc. On her first trip back to Guatemala City, she went to an orphanage with boxes of shoes. The nun in charge was so appreciative and Mona's project was born.

Today Share Your Soles has operations in 23 states. Mona's project outgrew her garage, a local real-estate business, Center-Point Properties, donated a warehouse. American Airlines offered to do distribution free. These last points most likely have changed since the start but the enterprise is going very well.