Viewing entries in

JUNE 9-24: "Pop-Up" Charity for Haiti


Anyone in need of a great pair of shoes?  How about an *awesome* pair of shoes for charity? 

Youth Against Poverty is opening a “Pop-Up” store – a short-term clearance sale – starting THIS SATURDAY in Los Altos.  We’re selling hundreds of new, top-quality shoes to fund a children’s medical clinic in Les Cayes, Haiti. 

Although one of our closest neighbors, Haiti has one of the worst health care systems in the world and millions of the country’s citizens are suffering from cholera, malaria and Dengue Fever.  The children’s clinic in Les Cayes will serve a community of over a million people and will contribute significantly to the prevention and treatment of illnesses for the youth of the region.

Do you think you can help?  If so, please join me.  Our last Pop-Up raised over $25,000, and with the support of the Silicon Valley community, we’re hoping to raise even more towards our goal of $70,000.

If you can’t make it, please spread the word.  It is rare to find great deals on great shoes, and even more rare to be able to shop for charity. 

We hope to see you there!

Teamwork in Africa: Shoes for Kids in Need

Cupertino teen helps put shoes on the feet of poor children in Africa

A few polite inquiries from Cupertino resident Shawn Esmaili put shoes on the feet of poor children in Tanzania.

Esmaili, 18, a junior at Saint Francis High School, was recently honored by K2 Adventures Foundation for his work in donating hundreds of shoes to poor children in the African nation. He received the foundation's first junior humanitarian award in 22 years.

Esmaili worked with K2 to get shoes sent to an orphanage in Tanzania that cares for roughly 600 children struggling with blindness. He said he was surprised to learn that the soil competition causes children to suffer from foot fungus, which cause their feet and even stomachs to swell.

"They said they needed shoes really badly. This is the only thing they wanted," he said. "I had no idea just how much these shoes would impact their lives."

Esmaili contacted major shoe companies such as Reebok, Puma, Converse, Adidas and Vans. Over a period of three months last year, he secured more than 700 pairs of shoes.

Esmaili said he was surprised that a few inquiries to the shoe companies would result in such positive feedback.

"I never would have expected to get so much support from these organizations. That was the really surprising part," he said. "I have them to thank for all of this. If it wasn't for their generosity, it would not have happened."

Esmaili's philanthropic ways began when he was 12 years old and traveling in Iran. He visited an orphanage for gifted and talented middle school-age children and heard their life stories. He said he was inspired to help poor children immediately after chatting with some of the orphans.

"I realized how fortunate I was, how much I had and how much they did not have," he said. "These kids were very bright; they were first or second in their class. This is when I found that this is what I want to do. This is the day I changed my life."

Last summer, Esmaili was in Haiti with Global Family Philanthropy, and it was there that he made connections with K2. The 10-day trip was an eye-opener for him, and he has since been continuing aid efforts for the earthquake-ravaged nation.

Esmaili was honored in Scottsdale, Ariz., late last year at K2's headquarters. The shoe donations even inspired him and K2 to sell the shoes at discount prices at makeshift "pop-up" stores in Scottsdale earlier this month.

The money from the stores is going toward medical equipment in Haiti. To date, the effort has raised $12,000, with a goal of reaching $25,000.

Esmaili has his own nonprofit, Youth Against Poverty, which works to connect his fellow teenagers with groups that work to help poor and impoverished children around the world. The organization is working to get official nonprofit status.


YAP Supports Global Family Philanthropy

Global Family Philanthropy is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a stable home for the abandoned and orphaned children in Haiti. My memorable trip to Haiti was through this organization, and I can assure you that it will be life-changing once you go there. If you are thinking or want to get involved to make a difference to these orphans in Haiti, click here. I never realized until I went there how impoverished that country is. Everyday, there are mothers in Haiti who want to give up their child or children because they cannot afford to take care of them. Some of the orphans in the orphanage were found walking in the streets naked, orphaned at birth, or given up by their mothers and still remember but don't know why she gave them up.

It's not too late to make a difference.

Pictures from Haiti

Hey All,

I just posted pictures of our trip in Haiti in our Photo Blog, which is on the left side bar.

Back from Haiti - Reflecting on the Experience

Overall, I had a great time at Haiti and it is one of those trips that I will remember forever. Our trip was through an organization called Global Family Philanthropy, and the orphanage we were at was in Les Cayes which is a four hour drive from Port-au-Prince. Our job was to build a chicken coop and we had a great deal of time to play with the kids. Since our group was small, we really had the opportunity to bond with the kids. The kids were always happy to see us and always wanted us to play with them and give them our love and care. They always wanted me to pick them up and hold them, because they loved that feeling to be held and known that someone actually cares for them. Some of the older kids knew that we were not going to be there for long, so by about 3 days prior to leaving, they were sad, because they knew we were leaving soon but didn't know exactly when we were leaving. The last day was the most emotional day of the trip, because that was when almost everyone knew we were leaving. Some starting crying and some were too upset to do anything. They were sad because they knew that they can't receive the love and care that we gave them during the 10 days. It's as if telling them that the love and care that we are giving them is temporary. It's sad because I realized that kids always need unconditional and undivided love and being there for such a short time was telling them that they can't have the unconditional love that a parent can give them. However, my heart is still with them and they were great kids and were always smiling and laughing, which made me smile and laugh as well.

Haiti is a country with great people and the countryside is beautiful, especially the beaches. The only problem is their management. For example, there is an abundance of banana trees, almond trees, and avocado trees, but the people are still starving. There are no garbage cans there so you see piles and piles of trash in the middle of the streets. When you drive from Les Cayes to the capital, it's all the same thing. It's just poor villages after another and garbage and filth everywhere. They have an abundance of resources, but they just have poor management. The reason I am so shocked here in US is because it is so clean compared to Haiti. I dont have to use my hand sanitizer every 5 minutes and can actually walk barefoot in my own room, whereas we couldnt in our hotel room. I am still recuperating because of the culture shock.

My Trip to Haiti - A Great Visit

Hey all,

Just to let all you know, I am having a great time in Haiti. Our volunteer group is great and I love the kids in the orphanage. They are always smiling and full of love. I don't have much Internet access at the moment, but if I do, I will post updates on my Facebook page which you can click here. So far, I have posted pictures of the kids and workers having a pair of shoes for the first time.

Getting Ready for the Trip to the Haiti

As you all know, I am leaving to Haiti next week from June 8 - 20. I have to prepare for a few health precautions/vaccinations such as Hepatitis A, B, Thypoid, and malaria pills. I just took my first dosage of malaria pills today and will continue to take it weekly for four weeks. I also have to be concerned about cholera and Dengue fever.

By the way, hurricane season in Hait officially starts today and will continue for the next few months. Even though there are many adversities that I have to face, I am still pretty excited to go and cannot wait. Please follow me on my Facebook and Twitter as I will post images of my trip and of all the kids that I will care for. Below is a picture of the orphanage that I will be working at.