giftED SOL(e)s: The Making, Part 1

Pre-December 2013: Year after year children at a school in Bicol would wish for and receive tsinelas (flip flops) for the holidays.

December 2013: A little bird overheard some parents wishing for a pair of shoes. If there’s a wish, there’s a will and a way to make it come true.

January 2014: Research led to a shoe manufacturer, a potential donor, followed by an inquiry.

February 10, 2014: giftED SOLs formalized partly due to the realization that certain sponsors would donate only to registered non-profit organizations. What a year it’s been since! (A Year In Review COMING SOON!)

March-July 2014: Inquiries sent to the shoe company without a response pushed us to think outside the “shoe box.”

giftED SOL(e)s: The Making

August-October 2014: What would it take to make custom soles instead? A dedicated and passionate Project Coordinator!

Tracing Foot, Binanuahan Elementary School, Bicol, Philippines

Kids tracing their feet thinking they’re getting sized for tsinelas as usual

Paper footprints from children collected by our Project Coordinator

Paper footprints from children collected by our Project Coordinator

"Thank You" paper footprints

November-December 2014: Thanks to a local shoe-maker for taking on the project and making custom-fit shoes for children in rural Philippines.

Shoe factory where giftED SOLes are made

A pair of giftED SOLes

January 2015: giftED SOLs gifting soles at Binanuahan Elementary School.

Shoe-fitting at Binanuahan Elementary School

Kids sporting their newly giftED soles

Our Project Coordinator has more to share on this project.
Stay tuned for Part 2!

 

January 2015 In Review: Mission Ful-fillED!

January was hectic as we were/are still reeling from the holidays and overlapping projects. Kickstarting 2015, we are happy to report our Project Coordinator survived her back-to-back book giving trips in Bicol, Philippines. In 2 words, “Mission fulfilled!” Why? 7 Reasons, a summary:

1) Binanuahan Elementary School (BES)

January 26: Secret SOLs Gift Project UNBOXED! Little did the BES kids know they were getting custom-made shoes instead of tsinelas this year. Lots to share on this project! For now, a photo:

giftED SOLs gifting soles to Binanuahan Elementary School pupils

2) San Rafael High School

January 27: From land to air to sea to shore to hilltop, more books poured in. This helps to rebuild their library destroyed by Typhoon Glenda.

More books for San Rafael High School, thanks to Leslie V. Ryan, Lexi Olinder, St. Anne and Heritage Oak schools

3) Vinisitahan Elementary School

January 28: A new school added to our Balikbayan Boox Project list of recipients.

Books and US state cards given to VInisitahan Elementary School pupils

4) Bayasong High School

January 28: Another high school added to our Balikbayan Boox Project beneficiary list.

Books given to Teachers at Bayasong High School, Bicol, Philippines 5) Dominican School of Pilar

January 29: One more high school for our Balikbayan Boox Project, receiving educational CDs.

Dominican School of Pilar high school students receive educational CDs

6) Pilar High School

January 30: AND one last high school (for now) added to our Balikbayan Boox Project.

giftED SOLs giving books to Pilar High School, Bicol, Philippines

7) Echo Park Branch Library

January 31: giftED SOLs USA got busy, too, in our local community–helping to promote literacy as well as the Philippine Heritage Collection housed at the Echo Park Branch Library.

Certificate of Recognition from Councilmember Gil Cedillo and Book Donation from LA Brilliant Lions Club and Green Mango Books to the Philippine  Heritage Collection

Service in literacy EDucation has our SO(u)Ls not only feeling giftED, but “fillED full.” Thanks to one of the Friends of Echo Park Branch Library for the term! We shared that we don’t get hungry during events like this; we get too “filled full” from everybody’s excitement, joy, and positive energy. Redundant as it may sound, but we can’t think of a better adjective. This month, THIS YEAR has so far been fulfilling in more ways than 1 (in fact, more than the 7 reasons outlined above). Without a doubt, mission “ful-fillED”!

Wishing us all another fulfilling month and a heartwarming February!

 

Unwrapping Secret SOLs Gift Project

It’s no longer a secret, especially to 193 giftED pupils at BES! Their wish finally came true, unboxed on January 26, 2015! Our Secret SOLs Gift Project are custom-fit SOLES. Endless THANKS to our Project Coordinator for making it happen! More stories to come from Bicol, Philippines. Meanwhile, catch a glimpse through this shoe kaleidoscope…TAADAA!

Shoes Kaleidoscope

Three Schools & One Project Coordinator: Updates from the Philippines

Yesterday at 5:03 AM, giftED SOLs USA woke up before the alarm went off just as our dedicated Project Coordinator started buzzing us up online from the Philippines! Waking up earlier than planned was worth her most-awaited project updates:

Binanuahan Elementary School (BES)

PHILIPPINES: Mission accomplished! Been to BES. Got the kids’ foot sizes.

USA: Pictures?

PHILIPPINES: Already sent. You’ll see.

Tracing Foot, Binanuahan Elementary School, Bicol, Philippines

Pupils Sizing for New Footwear, Binanuahan Elementary School, Bicol, Philippines

PHILIPPINES: Forgive me…[not part of the plan just yet], but I couldn’t resist feeding them biscuits and juice.

Biscuits and Drinks for Binanuahan Elementary School, Bicol, Philippines

Biscuits and Drinks for Binanuahan Elementary School, Bicol, Philippines

USA: OH NO, you’re in trouble! (kidding =)

PHILIPPINES: That’s OK. That’s nothing compared to seeing the kids happy and smiling.

San Rafael High School (SRHS)

PHILIPPINES: We also got to visit San Rafael! Susmio! The library is in ruins due to Typhoon Glenda! Very few books were salvaged. Poor students! They haven’t been able to read books because Glenda destroyed everything. Just some hollow blocks left.

San Rafael High School Library: After Typhoon Glenda

San Rafael High School Library: After Typhoon Glenda

PHILIPPINES: Good thing we brought a small box of books.

Books for San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

Books for San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

PHILIPPINES: The school is at the peak of the island. You’d have asthma attack on the way up!

Stairs to San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

Stairs to San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

PHILIPPINES: Fortunately, Mr. Boatman helped us carry the books.

Boatman, San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

Boatman, San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

PHILIPPINES: The school is in dire need of reference books. I was thinking we should have sent them all the high school level books we have. The problem is, they’re big and heavy.

USA: OK, let’s get a bigger boat and hire more muscles.

PHILIPPINES: Don’t worry, we’ll find solutions. The teachers were so happy because giftED SOLs has been a blessing to them.

Teachers, San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

Teachers, San Rafael High School, Bicol, Philippines

USA: They have no idea how they are blessings to us, especially the kids! We haven’t even helped enough compared to the damage. But they’re very welcome!

PHILIPPINES: They’re so thankful just for the attention. The books alone are enough for the kids. They’re having a hard time because they lack books. The kids have to go across the shore just to do their homework. I asked the teachers to send a proposal.

USA: OK, no promises, but we’ll try our best to help as much as we can.

Dela Paz Elementary School (DES)

PHILIPPINES: By the way, Friday is the book distribution at DES.

USA: This Friday? Exciting! Are you ready?

PHILIPPINES: Yes, the volunteers and teachers are ready.

USA: Anything else you need?

PHILIPPINES: I already took care of everything before I left for Bicol. I’m traveling back to Laguna tomorrow.

USA: THANKS! Ingat!

Safe travels to our Project Coordinator!
Looking forward to Friday!