Hello! Destination Management South Florida enjoyed finding
a new way for our clients to give back to the local community during a recent
conference in Ft. Lauderdale. We called it “TOMS for Tots to Teens.” Each guest
was able to hand decorate a pair of TOMS shoes for a local child while also
benefiting kids in other countries. They each turned a pair of plain canvas
TOMS shoes into a work of art that any child would be excited and proud to
wear. Our guests used fabric markers, paint, glitter, and other decorating
supplies to put their personal touches on dozens of pairs of TOMS shoes.
Just in case you don’t know the TOMS story, In 2006,
American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found
they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS
Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of
new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina
with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of
shoes made possible by TOMS customers.
Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:
A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.
Wearing shoes prevents feet from getting cuts and dangerous when wounds become infected.
Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realize their potential.
Closer to home there is also a need for shoes. Many families
in America today are struggling to put food on the table and new shoes or shoes
that fit properly are a luxury that these families cannot afford. Our guests
chose to give their TOMS masterpieces to the Jack & Jill Children’s Center,
a Ft. Lauderdale school for children of high-need working families. To inspire the participants, the event concluded with a
speaker from Jack & Jill Children’s Center, who explained to the
participants what an impact these shoes will make. TOMS matched our group’s
donation and distributed shoes internationally through their One for One
program. It’s always a joy to partner with guests in giving back!