The difference between an ordinary story and an extraordinary story is the “extra”.
The story of Save the Earth Projects is more than ordinary. You see – the founder – Olivia was 7 years old when her home and school were destroyed in a massive FEMA disaster – a flood in Austell GA near Atlanta in 2009.
Olivia was in 2nd grade – but even at that tender age she saw humanity and the togetherness of community and of people willing to put their own priorities aside to help others in need. She saw people she will never see again donate their clothes, money, time, sweat and tears to help a community become restored.
When she entered 4th grade after being homeless and living in a hotel, then temporary FEMA housing in an apartment, and then at her grandparents – never to return to the home she knew – her heart was yearning to give and serve. She began by clearing scrub jay habitats and caring for the land. By 5th grade she felt even more moved to do something profound – and she created Save the Earth Projects – or S.T.E.P. for short.
The first project for S.T.E.P. has become a cornerstone project called Leave a GOOD Footprint, a gently used shoe collection.
300 million pair of shoes wind up in USA landfills annually and yet 300 million people don’t have access to adequate footwear.
While many of us have a change of shoes for every outfit, 100,000 kids die every year due to parasites and disease that enter cuts in their feet that could all be avoided with a pair of shoes.
Through Leave a GOOD Footprint – shoes are deployed globally putting reuse in front of recycle. Landfills are reduced, economies and businesses are built, people get shoes, and for every pound of shoes collected, Olivia’s partners donate .$50 or more to charities that she selects. She earns no money from this at all. She calls it a “for-giving” project.
She began the program to collect 100 pair of shoes to allow one child at a YMCA to afford to play soccer. In just one month she collected 1,500 pair and several kids had opportunities that once didn’t exist.
Since that time Olivia has been honored with dozens of local, regional, national, and global awards for her selfless giving, social responsibility, servant leadership, and humanitarianism.
She has collected shoes across the USA and U.K. which have been distributed to many countries worldwide. She has generated thousands of dollars for multiple charities and dispersed over 30,000 pair of shoes.
Every October we launch Leave a GOOD Footprint as it is the anniversary of S.T.E.P. and also a celebration of her birthday.
This October – funds generated from shoes collected will benefit other people who have been affected by the devastation of water from the various hurricanes in 2017 (Harvey, Irma, Maria).
Not only is providing relief from water disasters important to Olivia – but she and her family also experienced damage from both Hurricane Matthew and Irma. At age 15 she has personally witnessed the impacts of 3 Presidentially declared FEMA disasters. All caused by water.
She wants and needs your help. It’s simple. If you live in the USA and have shoes you no longer wear – put them in a box. As long as you can rally up 35 lbs of shoes or more (it’s not hard to do) – she will get credit for the donations and can also send you free shipping labels for the shoes. If you can collect 200 pair or more – she can send you collection boxes (and free shipping).
Her partners have agreed to give an additional $2/box specifically for the hurricane relief.
Be a part of this extra-ordinary story of kindness, love, and togetherness. Let someone else walk in your shoes. Follow the example of Olivia (my daughter) and live responsibly locally, raise awareness nationally, and give globally. Together we can make a BIG difference. One S.T.E.P. at a time!
For details – see the pinned post on the Fb page @savetheearthprojects
Please like the page and share with others – and be a part of changing the world together!