Some people just make the world a better place and Nicholas Lowinger is most certainly one of those. I became aware of Nicholas back in March of this year and he continues to inspire me through the work of his non-profit organisation Gotta Have Sole Foundation.
It was when I read Nicholas’s own words that I realised this is a special young young man who had found his vocation and in doing so has been transforming lives all across America.
“I was inspired to start Gotta Have Sole Foundation because at a very young age I saw children in homeless shelters in RI who didn’t have shoes or had shoes that were used and falling apart. Some had to share footwear with a family member and missed school because it wasn’t their turn to wear the shoes that day, and others had sores on their feet from wearing shoes that didn’t fit them properly. I was devastated by this and wanted to help the children however I could. I started donating my gently used clothing and footwear but often didn’t have the correct sizes for the children. I knew that the only shoes that would fit them best would be new, correctly sized ones and hoped someday I would be able to donate these.
Several years later as a community service project for a religious coming-of-age ceremony, which took place in 2010, I started Gotta Have Sole Foundation so I could finally donate new footwear to homeless children. I am proud to say that even though this ceremony has long since passed, I continue this endeavour and have donated new footwear to over 10,000 children in homeless shelters in 21 states throughout the United States. My goal is to reach as many children living in homeless shelters in the US as I can. It has always been my hope that the children will feel more confident about themselves because they have new shoes to call their own and that they will have the same opportunities afforded to them as their peers.
As a way to honor my grandfather who is a WWII veteran, I established SOLEdiers to assist our disabled and needy veterans and their families. This special program provides our veterans with gift cards to footwear stores so they can select the shoes they need, and footwear from our inventory for their children. It is my hope that our veterans who fought so hard for our freedom will feel honored with this token of our appreciation, and that the footwear they purchase will enable them to go on job interviews and participate in daily activities.
Every time a facebook posting comes up from Nicholas, he makes me smile as he is always sharing news of innovative ways he has managed to connect with individuals and global corporations to donate new shoes to homeless children. Not only that, but every photo is of him smiling happily, engaged in his work and helping others. Such an inspiration.
I’ll let Nicholas have the last word as I saw this quote on his facebook page and he said he really agreed with this message. It clearly shows us that actions really do speak louder than words and youngsters like Nicholas Lowinger are clearly showing the way.
To make a difference is not a matter of accident, a matter of casual occurrence of the tides. People choose to make a difference.”
Listen to It’s All Good Radio Show on www.brooklandsradio.co.uk at 9pm (UK) for more inspiring stories of individuals, companies and organisations who are challenging the norm and changing the way we live and work for the better.