Thursday, April 8, 2010

When One Door Closes, a Window Opens

April 8th is the day TOMS Shoes sponsors "One Day Without Shoes" to raise awareness of the number of children in developing countries who go barefoot every day. People all over the world go barefoot for the day or just a few minutes to experience what its like to live without shoes.

A few facts from One Day Without Shoes:

* In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.
* Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.
* Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.
* In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.
* Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.

After hearing about this event on Facebook, I really wanted to participate, mainly by going barefoot at my job so that I could raise awareness there. Let's face it, that's my main avenue for contact with people, a consequence of living alone. However, I made the mistake of actually asking for permission from my bosses to do so, and was refused (they're good guys, but HR has to be lawsuit conscious).

Then something awesome happened. Kris Allen, the American Idol winner from here in Conway, is involved with One Day Without Shoes, and it just so happens that I work with his Uncle Kenny. God bless him, when he heard that I'd been denied permission to go barefoot for this good cause, he wanted to do something about it.

Thanks to Kenny, I got pretty much the whole day off to go be barefoot. He also made sure I (along with my friend Sarah) got put on the VIP list for Kris' UCA show, where we got to sit in the friends and family section. Thanks to him, I got to spend the afternoon participating in the Barefoot Walk at UCA and seeing a fantastic little concert.

Tonight, my feet are sore and skinned, but I have the luxury of antibiotic cream and comfy socks tomorrow. My heart goes out to those who don't. This is a cause worth contributing to!

Check out the links above if you're interested in what you can do to help kids without shoes. I will be buying myself a pair of TOMS shoes very soon. I think its a win/win situation. I get a cute pair of shoes (there's a pair that sparkles!) and a child gets a new pair too! Also, I'll have pictures of today's walk and concert very soon!

This was such an inspiring day, and its amazing that I had no idea that any of this would happen when I got up this morning. In fact, I was convinced that I'd be going barefoot to get the mail instead of being out there, walking for the cause.

Thanks for being a window, Kenny.

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