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!



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

Delayed Gratification, Instant Gratitude

Gratitude on the beach sand

Pre-Web 2.0/social media, analog pictures of our projects in the Philippines (some posted here) would arrive via snail mail. They would take weeks, months, or zero time because sometimes they never arrived at all (hence the missing years not posted here). Sometimes, we’d have nothing to show for the projects that took weeks and months of planning and coordinating between giftED SOLs Philippines and USA via long-distance calls over landlines.

Even to this day, sending balikbayan boxes to the Philippines using a reliable cargo service takes a month at the fastest, double during the holiday season. Reportedly, port congestions in L.A. and Manila these past “ber” months caused delays in delivery from 45 to 60 days or so. Of the 10 boxes we had sent by October, only 4 arrived by December, followed by 3 more this month, January 2015. What happened or what will happen to the rest? We simply hope for the best.

In this age of “instant gratification,” delayed gratification teaches us lessons we must learn. Delayed gratification reinforces that “patience is a virtue” and “good things come to those who wait.” It teaches us to keep things in perspective. It teaches us that instant gratification doesn’t necessarily coincide with instant gratitude; as well, delayed gratification should not mean delayed gratitude either. Just the opposite, it teaches and gives us a sense of instant gratitude.

We count our blessings right away. We are grateful for the digital photos that come our way soon after our projects are completed in the Philippines. We are grateful for boxes that actually land when it should. We are grateful knowing our Project Coordinator does everything as fast as she can despite her hectic calendar. This week and next, she’s leading back-to-back giving projects, traveling between provinces, to deliver gifts.

Finally, our Secret SOLs Gift Project is finished and ready to be unveiled. We can’t wait to see the reaction of the kids!

Actually, we CAN and WILL WAIT because it’s worth it! Gratitude is a matter of attitude. Our gratification may be delayed, but we are overwhelmed with gratitude right this instant! After all, time flies when we’re having fun–and we are, because for each gift sown and soul gifted, we reap sunshine!

A grateful heart is a happy heart! Happy and grateful US this year!


Secret SOLs Gift Project SNEAK PEEK

We can’t wait for the kids to unwrap this gift! If only we could unveil it now, we would. But that would ruin the surprise for 200+ children. For now, the best we can offer is a sneak peek.

Wondering what’s going on? Soon the full story will be revealed. Please bear with us and stay tuned for more previews and clues.
Credits & Thanks to our Project Coordinator for the video and for her tireless commitment to this pioneering project!