The Casting Dock

So We Run

About a year ago a really good friend of mine (along with another friend of his) began the process of starting a non-profit called So We Run.  SWR has a refreshingly simple mission: to provide lightly used shoes to people in need, both locally and internationally.  This past summer SWR took a group of four guys down to Guatemala with the organization Little Lambs International to lay the foundation (literally) for a future orphanage, bringing suitcases of shoes in the process.

I love the humbly simple, yet profoundly meaningful mission of this non-profit and I love my friend’s leadership, vision, and heart to pour his time, energy, and (when necessary) money into this venture.  He posted the following note on his SWR facebook page, which I thoroughly enjoyed so I asked permission to copy it here for all 7 of you to enjoy:  {Check out SWR’s website here if you’re interested in hearing more about it…}

A few days ago I was fortunate enough to pick up a somewhat well-known author/speaker from the airport and take him to Gordon College for a lecture he was giving at the school.  My general rule of thumb with folks like this is to keep the conversation to mundane items like the weather, color of the leaves or Dunkin Donuts vs Starbucks coffee (side note, we both think Dunks has better coffee).  However a “small” traffic jam extended our time together, and unfortunately (or fortunately) we ran out of trivial things to talk about. 

So we started talking about family.  Then about traveling the world.  Then about SWR’s trip to Guatemala.  Then about So We Run.

First and foremost, I’ve talked to quite a few people about SWR and never have I had a more captive audience than this author/speaker.  He held onto every word like they were vital instructions for how to disarm the nuclear warhead that was underneath his seat.  He simply repeated over and over again, “Wow!  That is so great!” 

I still feel somewhat uncomfortable “pushing” SWR but the more he affirmed me the more I kept talking.

I then told him the story about the first individuals we helped (missionaries in Southeast Asia that run a soccer school) and eventually told him our catch line “helping kids be kids.”

Again, I couldn’t believe how excited he was. 

On a side note, this individual travels probably 25 days out of every month.  Meets “logistics coordinators” for small colleges probably every other week.  But he valued me and he valued SWR. 

After I told him about our vision for “helping kids be kids” he said.  “What makes that most important is that it offers dignity.”  I didn’t know exactly what he meant but I let out one of those deep understanding “MMMMMHHHHMMMMMMMMM” as if he said something that I was already thinking.  Luckily for me, he continued.  “What makes it so great is that you are offering a small piece of dignity.  Really, shoes are not a necessity but simply having something extra can be so empowering, encouraging and uplifting.  I think that is what makes your organization valuable.  It gives people dignity.”

I’ve been thinking about what he said for the last few days now.  Dignity. 

Dignity.

There are times when I think that SWR isn’t doing enough good.  We aren’t feeding the hungry.  We aren’t curing terrible diseases.  We aren’t stopping unnecessary violence.  Are we even making a difference? 

I think we are.  I think having pride is good.  I think being empowered is good.  I think belief in oneself is good.  If giving a kid a pair of shoes can facilitate positive thinking and affirm them as valuable, then I think what we are doing is good.

I probably will never figure out a way to end poverty.  I’m not smart enough.  But maybe one of those kids in Southeast Asia will.  Maybe one of those kids in Guatemala will figure out a medicine that eradicates the world of HIV/AIDS.

Thanks speaker/author (who shall remain anonymous) for reminding me what’s important, and for valuing me.   Ironically, that’s sorta the point of SWR I guess.  Valuing people.

1 comment

1 Rhonda { 10.27.10 at 3:15 am }

What an awesome thing to do! I love that ministry and suspect that it will grow in magnitude and ability to reach across the world. It is sad when we think about how many shoes lay dormant in our closets because we have more than we could ever need. To link that simple item we so take for granted to giving dignity to someone else, it changes ones perspective on the word “need”. I think the name of the ministry is absolutely perfect! I will go check out the website next.

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