Social Changers: TOMS

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

“Giving is what fuels us. Giving is our future.” – Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder and Chief Shoe Giver

TOMS. A company with a point of difference: A One For One Model.

When Blake, an American entrepreneur, travelled to Argentina in 2006 and saw children running around with no shoes to protect their feet, he decided to change that and started TOMS with a unique mission:

“With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One For One.”

Blake had no idea how to make shoes at the time, but he partnered with the right people, had the right connections, and TOMS was born.

Gathering worldwide attention and popularity by celebrities, media coverage, students, mothers, fathers, travellers, businessman, teenagers, and the like, by September 2010  TOMS had given its millionth pair of shoes to a child in need.

Having gone to many impoverished countries giving shoes to children, Blake saw other basic needs that weren’t being met – like eyesight. So in 2011, TOMS Eyewear was launched with the same One For One Model:

“With every pair you purchase, TOMS will help give sight to one person in need. One For One.”

TOMS also produce T-Shirts, sweaters, beanie’s, stickers, and a stack more. And when you purchase something, they give a pair of shoes to a child in need – One For One.

[fun fact: blake and his sister were on the second season of “the amazing race”. they came in second, missing out on the $1million prize by 4-minutes!!]

But TOMS isn’t just a company, it’s a movement. One Day Without Shoes is an annual event that started in 2008 by a group of college students. The reason? To spread awareness about the millions of children around the world without shoes. Since then it’s exploded and in 2010 over 250,000 people took part worldwide in 1,600 events.

But don’t get fooled by thinking that TOMS is named after Tom (as some articles on the web have claimed, tsk tsk). TOMS is a clever deriver of the phrase “Tomorrow’s Shoes”.

Truth be known, I love TOMS. Right now as I type this, my MacBook has a TOMS sticker on it, and I’m wearing a TOMS sweater and necklace. I also have two pairs of classic canvas shoes and a pair of botas in my shoe collection. And my bookshelf contains “Start Something That Matters”, an incredible book by Blake Mycoskie about the TOMS journey.

Sure, their products are nice, but the reason behind it makes TOMS so much more attractive and purposeful. My 6 TOMS items = 6 happy children with shoes. 

It’s new. It’s practical. It looks good. It’s innovative. And it’s helping people.

Website: toms.com | Twitter: @TOMS | Facebook: facebook.com/TOMS

INTRODUCTION: Social Changers

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

Hi All!

Hope you’re all having a super week!

Let me begin by giving a bit of a background about this blog. It started in October 2010 when for one of my University assignments we had to set up a WordPress blog account, pick a topic and write weekly blog posts about it, gaining followers and publishing skills along the way.

Most of the girls picked fashion, most of the guys picked sport, and I picked social media.  I decided to call the blog “itsasocialthing” because the media is now a major part of our social lives, and at the time I was working with a social media marketing company. Once the assignment was completed my blog posts drizzled out to only being published every now when I came across something inspirational.

Over time this blog has changed. It travelled with me to the Philippines, it’s been listed on upstart: the magazine for emerging journalists, one of my heroes in the writing field even looked and commented on one of my blog posts (I was so shocked that I never even replied to even say thank you!!), and people subscribe to it now from all over the globe (what the?).

From post to post though, the focus has slowly changed. It’s no longer about social media, it’s about social justice. But it’s still all social. One of my passions is finding charities, non-profit organisations, people, and anything else that it related to bringing about a positive change in the world. The more I discover, the more I get excited about the state of the future.

So, I’ve decided to introduce something new to my blog entitled: SOCIAL CHANGERS.

Once a week there will be a post highlighting someone, an event, organisation or anything else that is bringing about a change in the world (think poverty, human trafficking, bullying, non-profits, cancer awareness days, charities, and more…)

Why? Because it’s one thing to be made aware of the injustices and poverty in our community, nation and world…but it’s another to be made aware of those who are being the solution and making a difference in it.

Stay tuned for the first piece. It will be up over the next few days.

Much love, Beth x

[Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours. — Cesar Chavez]

What Does Making A Difference In The World Look Like?

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

‘Make A Difference In The World’ seems to be a catchphrase in the world lately. And it’s something that has resonated deeply within me for some time now. Going into 2012 though, my focus on it changed. Last night I began thinking and was challenged with the thought of: what does making a difference in the world actually look like? Here are my thoughts. I hope it challenges and inspires you like it challenged and inspired me…

WHAT DOES MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD LOOK LIKE?

Being a light where the darkness dwells. Because even the smallest of lights begins to scare off what can seem like the deepest of the darkest.

Oozing grace to every person you come in contact with because they deserve it; despite what they may portray or how they may make you feel. And if you think that’s unfair, think about what John Henry Newman once said: “The way God gives His grace is scandalous.”

Spreading Hope where hearts have despaired.

Outstretching both hands and using all of your might to help pick up those who cannot pick up themselves.

Being strategically generous.

Partnering action to the dreams that God embedded in your being and whispered in your ear. No dream in a heart is pointless, what’s pointless is if you neglect to see why it was put in your heart to begin with.

Opening your mouth and speaking for the unempowered and those whose freedom to speak for themselves has been unjustly taken from them.

Speaking life and encouragement. Realising that words have the ability to not only plant seeds into the essence of a person’s soul, but to also water them. Will yours produce a lush, green rainforest, or dried up thistle and weeds?

Getting the revelation that going to Church on Sunday isn’t enough, but being the Church every day is our mandate on this earth.

Acquiring a faith so contagious, sweet, and real that people can’t help but be drawn to the One who fuels it.

Having eyes that don’t just look, but that see the present and what the future could be. And when they see a problem, they realise that it’s their responsibility and opportunity to restore and revive – for that’s why they noticed it.

In a world full of anguish and worry, be a statement of peace that calms the stormiest of seas in someone’s heart.

And love. Love like you’ve never known hate. And love because that’s the common thread we all have in our lives. Once we experience love and begin to give it out, it becomes deeper. The threads then begin to weave tighter pulling everyone together, making a masterpiece that’s beautiful and hard to break. Because love unites and love includes. To love and be loved is the purest form of making a difference in this world. 

This is what making a difference in the world looks like to me. It’s beautiful, it’s wholesome, it’s purposeful, it’s influential, it’s practical, it has to make our hands dirty from doing the work, but it’s doable…. And it begins with me.

The Friday Five: Difference Makers

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

1. SPEECH: Natalie Warne: Anonymous Extraordinaries

2. LETTER: Lauren’s Letter To Santa (via World Vision Australia’s Facebook Page)

3. BOOK: ‘Start Something That Matters’ by Blake Mycoskie

Written by Blake Mycoskie, founder and Chief Shoe-Giver of TOMS Shoes, this book is practical, amazing and so inspiring when it comes to making a difference in the world. I’ve adored the TOMS vision and products for some years now, and this book is just the icing on the cake. If you can, try to get your hands on this beauty – you will not be disappointed. If you can’t, check out TOMS and get familiar with what they do – so good!

4. PERSON: Principal Sherrie Gahn of Whitney Elementary School in Las Vegas, USA.

Saw this on The Ellen Show through the week and cried. There are no words to describe just how amazing Principal Sherrie is. Her big heart, generosity, kindness, grace, ability to not just see a problem but to also act on changing it is simply overwhelming and truly life changing. Goodness, if only there were more people in the world like her. Watch the clip below – you will be better because of it…

5. QUOTE: 

‘Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.’ – Robert Louis Stevenson

Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas guys! Lot’s of love… Beth, x

The Friday Five: Reality, Expression, & a Little Inspiration.

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

1. A QUOTE:

“A life in God is never absent of dreams. God designed us to dream because He created us to create. Our dreams are where God paints a picture of a life waiting to be created. It is, in fact, our dreams that energize us to literally go to war against reality and make what only exists in our imagination our future.” -Erwin Raphael McManus

2. A PHOTO BLOG: The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011

A monstrous dust storm (Haboob) roared through Phoenix, Arizona in July.

See all of the images here. Speechless over how incredible they are.

3. A VIDEO: Sermon On The Mound

4. A POEM: ‘If I Should Have A Daughter’ by Sarah Kay

This video has been on replay over these past few days. Sarah Kay draws you in from beginning to end and you can’t help but leave feeling inspired; she’s one very special lady. Some of my favourite lines from the poem are:

“…there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s swept away.”

“You will put the star in starting over and over / And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.”

“Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing.”  

Oh and note, the poem goes for the first 3-minutes – after that is her speech followed by another poem. Enjoy!

5. A VERSE: Isaiah Chapter 32, Verse 8

PHILIPPINES TRIP: The Center For Change (Orphanage)

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

Whilst in the Philippines, I had the privilege of spending two days and one night at The Center For Change (an orphanage founded by Margaret Pashley). Here’s just a brief post about it….

MONDAY, 5 DECEMBER: Day + Night (& my 21st Birthday)

On our way to CFC (thought we were all going to die at one point though - driving is VERY different to in Australia...)

After arriving and putting our things in our room (8 people + a Ning came), we were allocated to a ‘house’. There are about 10 houses with each housing between 10-12 children (same gender), a house parent, and in some cases even a social worker or staff person. Here we ate lunch with them and got to know them a bit. Their lunch consisted of rice and fish. A roster is created every week assigning all the children in the house to different duties including making meals and cleaning.

Taken by a girl. They LOVE Christmas!

The day I was there, Josephine was assigned to cleaning after lunch. She’s only 5-years old, knows very little English, and went about her business with the broom by sweeping and tidying up not only the kitchen and dining area, but also the living room and front porch. She swept until it was totally clean, and then went on playing. Josephine is a real sweetie. At first it was hard to communicate with her because of the language barrier, but once she warmed up she always seemed to be there with a smile and holding your hand.

Josephine (5 years old)

After lunch we spent a few hours in the school. Each student has their own desk and a white flag. If they need help, they simply place the flag in the holder, you walk over to them and ask: “Can I help you?” Usually they’ll just ask if they can go and score their work, other times they’ll ask for help with their spelling, and even maths.

One of the boys I went over to needed help with spelling (I LOVE spelling!) What I didn’t know though was that the boy was dyslexic, and having an Australian accent simply didn’t help him. He ended up giggling and calling the teacher over, to which the teacher explained the situation and said that he’ll carry on doing the spelling words with him. If I can be completely honest… it kind of crushed my pride. Spelling was always the highlight of my education life, but to then be dismissed of it because of my accent… well, it just seemed ridiculous.

Not long after though, the teacher came over to me and asked if I could help an older girl with her spelling – she’s really good at it and wanted to be challenged by having a different accent say the words (found it to be a slightly funny reason, but was so stoked to do spelling!).

School Desk

After school finished, we spent a lot of time playing outside with the children. They are all absolutely adorable, too much fun, and incredibly cheeky. One of the girls, Joan (Jo-an, like Joanne), even taught me Waray Waray and then insisted on testing me on the things she had just taught me. Example: ‘erron’ means nose.

A letter, picture + bracelet from Joan. x

We then had dinner at the house we were assigned to. This time it was easier because the children were now more familiar with us, and we were more familiar with them. We played Uno, catch, and just hung out. Some of the older girls and the house parent decorated the front door. They had some wood strips outlining a star, and with strips of plastic bag (coloured red and yellow), they tied it around it. Sounds silly, but it actually looked very pretty with the fairylights running through it. Simple and effective.

They also sang happy birthday to me at dinner. So cute.

One of the kiddies took this photo

Playing catch with these two girlies.

Jijibel - adorably cute laugh (tried to upload a video of her, but it wouldn't work...)

TUESDAY, 6 DECEMBER: The whole team arrives

Today the rest of the team arrived. School was cancelled and the day was dedicated to sports and games. Everyone was allocated into teams and away we went. There’s no point writing about it all because photographs tell the story much better:

Giving bracelets to all the children.

Praying for Mel who stays at the CFC for two more weeks, then is off to a Thailand orphanage. What a world changer 🙂

Friendships were formed & lives were touched.

A letter from Juan Miguel 🙂

Spending time at The Center For Change was incredible. Seeing how they live, what they eat, what they’re taught, and how they interact with one another was simply incredible. The politeness and respect oozes out of them, and I don’t think I’ve ever been called ‘maam’ or ‘ate Beth’ as much as I was over those two days.

You also saw the practical need and reality. Without going into too much detail, those two days literally changed the path of my life forever. So grateful.

Notes about Center For Change:

– Their entire water supply turns off at 6am and turns back on around 1pm. So either have your shower at night, or super early in the morning.

– There are 20 aid workers there

– CFC is working towards becoming self-sufficient

– They currently have a bakery but are on the lookout for a baker to come over and train them so that they can become proficient and utilise the equipment properly

Why go there? Because we have a world to change…

UPDATE: Philippine Trip Blog Posts

[This blog has since moved to bybethanyjae.com. Head on over to check it out, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised… x]

Hi everyone,

You’ve probably realised by now but… I didn’t blog about the Philippines trip, and I’m so sorry! Long story short: I was really sick the first two days of the trip so it totally put me behind in my writing. And the trip was much more full on than the previous one, so I decided to simply enjoy the trip and recover, rather than adding an extra stress of having to stay up late at night writing about it.

Also, my camera charger decided to go on a vacation before I left so my brother’s camera decided to accompany me instead… but when it came to uploading all the photos onto my computer, I discovered that it’s file sizes were ridiculously large – thank goodness for the trusty iPhone camera though, but no thank goodness for slow wifi!

Over the next week I’ll write about a couple of highlights from the trip (example: Center For Change), but it’s not going to be like the blog posts I did last time I was there.

So, I’m incredibly sorry for the delay in updating you all about it. Hopefully you all understand 🙂 And also, The Friday Five will be back this week.

Until then, here are some snaps I took from the trip. Enjoy!

Much love, x