Every year our Girl Scout troop picks a service project that we can do as a Mother-Daughter event. We’ve helped packed lunches for kids in need, made blankets for kids in the hospital through Project Linus, and this year, we held a shoe-cutting party for Sole Hope. (see a list of fantastic service projects for kids here!) The pieces we cut out of recycled jeans would be used to make shoes for kids in Uganda, preventing infections from jiggers that live in the sand. Volunteering and service projects help teach kids empathy and instill compassion- two essential traits of little world citizens!
We began by buying a Sole Hope shoe-cutting party kit (at the time it was $15, but the price has risen to $115: it comes with an instructional DVD, pictures, bookmarks, stickers, a pattern, and more! We emailed the mom and daughter teams and set the date, inviting them to come with the following items:
- fabric scissors (or just sharp scissors)
- sharpie marker
- old blue jeans (You can cut around holes/stains!)
- $$ donation
I got some large safety pins, pens, and plastic folders for the heel pieces (but you can also upcycle plastic milk jugs). I also printed out these simple instructions so the moms and kids each knew what they should do. Finally, I traced the patterns onto cardboard and labelled them. We affectionately called the shapes the “darth vader helmet,” the “submarine,” and the “semicircle.”
We first watched the Sole Hope video (the jigger removal is quite graphic! Prepare your kids and preview it yourself first). For our girls who may have not ever seen abject poverty, this service project is very tangible; they are learning that not everyone in the world has access to what we do, and this concrete project will directly help someone in need. We reiterated throughout the night that a child in Uganda will be wearing the shoes that they cut out, and hopefully then they will not suffer from the painful jiggers and complications. The video is explicit, but very eye-opening and cause such an impression on my kids that they continued to mention it days later.
Next we had the girls cut the jeans apart at the seams, and start tracing their patterns onto the fabric. On the back side of the denim and with ballpoint pen, the girls should also label the size of the pieces so they don’t get mixed up at the point of assembly. Cutting out the pieces was the job for the moms, since it was difficult to get through the denim. I would recommend this project for kids 10+ with parents, or for teens if they’re by themselves. As the pieces are cut out, the girls can sort them into piles. Each pair of shoes will need:
- 4 heels (aka “submarines”)
- 4 “vamps” (aka “darth vaders”)
- 4 heel patches (2 plastic semicircles, 2 denim semicircles)
When you send in your shoe pieces, you could also send in donations of medical supplies needed for foot washing and jigger removal:.
- Stickers for the children
- Large Safety Pins
- Surgical Gloves
- Cotton Balls
- Medical Tape
- Antibiotic Cream
- Band Aids
If you are interested in learning more about Sole Hope, hosting a shoe-cutting party, or getting involved in their wonderful organization, please visit the Sole Hope web site! If you do host a party, spread the word through social media! Share this article, or share your own photos on instagram #solehope. Spread the word, spread awareness, and spread the hope that one day kids in Uganda won’t suffer from this foot-related disease!
“It doesn’t matter if you are well known or how many followers you have: whether you have been gifted with crafty skills or have a creative bone in your body. A compassionate heart is all you need to make an impact. Your Influence can spark inspiration and encouragement for others to help change a nation.
You can make a direct impact on the life of someone seemingly a world away by being a source of hope. Hope of relief from foot-related disease. Hope of an active life. Be moved. Be active. Be someone’s hope. Click here to get your party started!” ~SoleHope.org