Russell Agustin – Sole2Soul

The issues Sole2Soul addresses are public health and environmental sustainability. Through our research and experience, we have found that public health (whether that be physical health or environmental health) goes unnoticed and unresolved, especially for the youth of socio – economically depressed regions. However, through the collection, vetting and distribution of donated atheltic shoes, Sole2Soul’s purpose is to create mindful and sustainable communities. Through these transactions, the “old shoes” that are thrown away and forgotten are repurposed and reused. In essence, the tales of our soles are reborn, and for the new users of these shoes; a new tale is granted.

This work is important to me because it has given my siblings and I the opportunity to stand up for our community and planet. Everyday, we dream about attaining goals and being the change we wish to see, however this work has allowed said change to become actual reality! The most important thing we want people to know about this issue is that it is very real. Our planet is declining at an accelerating rate. Both animal and plant species are going extinct as waste piles up everyday without concern! At the same time, accessibility is a delicacy to very few. Through Sole2Soul, we find change in bridging that gap. We realize that shoes can play an important role in sustaining our planet, connecting various communities and providing accessibility to less fortunate youth across the board.

The initial seed grant was important to our work because our operations needed funding. We pay homage to the Pollination Project because they had given us our first ever grant. With that money, we sent our first shipment of athletic shoes to children in Nairobi, Kenya! The remainder of these funds helped us afford start – up equipment that has contributed to our activities to this day. The initial seed grant served as our financial foundation.

Receiving $1500 from the Pollination Project allows us to expand our reach, maintain the consistency of our communal outreach and upgrade our equipment for our operations. Through this grant, our ways of change are not only funded, but nurtured and grown. This grant allows us to further our change. We are truly grateful for another grant from the Pollination Project!

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