By Caroline Young | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophomore Josh Weaver transferred to Flagler College with high hopes of making a difference on campus. Plans are in the works for Flagler’s first year with a Toms Shoes club.
The club’s first large event will be an awareness event to tell students Toms Shoes’ story and exactly how they can help. The date and time will be confirmed once Weaver presents the club to Student Government Association this week and gets their approval.
Toms, which is short for “tomorrow” and part of the “Shoes for Tomorrow Project,” was created in 2006 when American entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina and witnessed the shoeless children. Their disease-ridden feet compelled Mycoskie to take action.
According to TomsShoes.com, the company’s motto is “One for One.” For every pair of shoes a person buys from Toms, the company matches the purchase and a pair of shoes is given to a child in need.
Over 150,000 pairs of shoes have been given to children in developing countries, such as Argentina and South Africa. Weaver says Toms has grown twice as big in the past year and the numbers keep growing.
Weaver has been involved with Toms for the past three years. He transferred from University of Tampa, and his goal for Flagler’s club is to raise awareness and provide a call to action.
“I want to get people into the spirit of helping other people out,” Weaver said.
Developing countries lack forms of transportation other than walking, and shoes are a necessity. According to the company’s website, the number one cause of disease and amputations in these countries is soil-transmitted parasites that enter the skin through open cuts.
“Kids won’t be able to walk after awhile, and by simply wearing shoes, it fixes the entire problem,” Weaver said.
Oftentimes, children in developing countries are unable to attend school if they do not own a pair of shoes. They are usually a uniform requirement. Without shoes, these children miss out on a chance at getting an education and realizing their full potential.
Weaver is aware that money may be an issue when it comes to students buying a pair of shoes from Toms.
“It doesn’t matter if you have the money,” he said. “Just come out and help as much as you can.”
Weaver already has five to six followers who are eager to get others involved. His membership goal is to get at least 15 people who actively attend meetings, with an additional 10 to 15 people who are willing to help at large events.
Part of Weaver’s goal is to get a diverse group of people involved with Toms. He knows he can get along with people from all different backgrounds, and is ready to put that ability into play.
“This club is about helping other people out, not being a certain type of person,” he said.
Popular among other college campuses is the “Style Your Soles Party,” where each Toms member gets to personalize their own pair of shoes with markers, pens, stencils and paint. If approved, Weaver plans on holding this event later in the year.
“I want to get some local artists involved so they can give people some direction,” Weaver said.
As more colors and trendy styles become available, Toms Shoes grows in popularity. When buying a pair of Toms, people gain satisfaction from both the fashion statement and the feeling of helping a child.
“You may not see the person you’re helping, but you know that money is going to a good cause,” Weaver said.
Getting involved with Toms can be beneficial to students’ future, with opportunities to travel and to obtain internships offered through their program. They host contests for students to go on “shoe drops” in different countries and help with shoe distribution.
Weaver plans to have a paid internship for Toms in Santa Monica, Calif. the summer after he graduates.
“The littlest things that people do make a big difference in other peoples’ lives,” he said.