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.”
August-October 2014: What would it take to make custom soles instead? A dedicated and passionate Project Coordinator!
November-December 2014: Thanks to a local shoe-maker for taking on the project and making custom-fit shoes for children in rural Philippines.
January 2015: giftED SOLs gifting soles at Binanuahan Elementary School.
Our Project Coordinator has more to share on this project.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
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:
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.
3) Vinisitahan Elementary School
January 28: A new school added to our Balikbayan Boox Project list of recipients.
4) Bayasong High School
January 28: Another high school added to our Balikbayan Boox Project beneficiary list.
5) Dominican School of Pilar
January 29: One more high school for our Balikbayan Boox Project, receiving educational CDs.
6) Pilar High School
January 30: AND one last high school (for now) added to our Balikbayan Boox Project.
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.
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!
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!
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.
PHILIPPINES: Already sent. You’ll see.
PHILIPPINES: Forgive me…[not part of the plan just yet], but I couldn’t resist feeding them biscuits and juice.
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.
PHILIPPINES: Good thing we brought a small box of books.
PHILIPPINES: The school is at the peak of the island. You’d have asthma attack on the way up!
PHILIPPINES: Fortunately, Mr. Boatman helped us carry the books.
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.
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!
2010: School Supplies & More for BES
Excited pupils on gift giving day
BES pupils who received notepads and other school supplies
BES pupils who received towels
BES pupils who received toothbrushes
BES pupils who received undies
Old versus NEW flip flops
January 6, 2014: 210 BES pupils receive a pair of flip flops
A simple wish from the pupils: “tsinelas” for the new year.
Wish granted, with help from the teachers, volunteers, & local vendors.
…and happy tummy! FOOD for everybody!
Best of all, smiley faces!