Celebrating Black History Month
Forty-five years ago, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month for the first time, urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Every year, the month serves as a dedicated time to remember, reflect, and celebrate the many contributions of our Black communities. Here at Soles4Souls, we are honored to work with individuals and organizations that make up and support these communities year-round. Aside from just supporting our mission of providing opportunities through shoes and clothing, these organizations and individuals have made large strides in impacting others.
This month, we want to “seize the opportunity to honor” these individuals and organizations that not only make a difference at Soles4Souls, but in their communities all across the globe. Here are just a few of our outstanding partners:
- Access to Success Over the years, we’ve partnered in their mission to break the cycle of poverty in Nigeria, by sending brand new shoes to be distributed to youth in their programs. Nigerian founder Andrew Lovedale has worked to educate and strengthen youth communities in the country through his organization programs, like After School Academy and Entrepreneur Success.
- National Museum of African American Music This past fall, Nashville’s newest museum opened its doors to the public, dedicating its mission to preserving and celebrating music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. Through our division Clothes4Souls, we were able to provide t-shirts for the volunteers leading tours.
- Dikembe Mutombo Foundation Founded by former NBA player Dikembe Mutombo himself, the foundation works to improve the health, education, and quality of life for the people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Soles4Souls has distributed shoes alongside providers in their mission, including WOGO, a team of seven female orthopedic surgeons, serving communities across the world who can’t afford healthcare services. Two of WOGO’s team leaders are fellowship-trained African American women, inspiring other women across their team and in the people they serve.
- Youth Towers Last year, through our partnership with Macy’s, we distributed coats in Birmingham, Alabama with this amazing organization educating youth on homelessness prevention. Female Black founder Alice Westery, a social worker by trade, now serves over 230 young people in the city through services such as counseling, life skill training, and housing stabilization.
- Urban League of Greater Atlanta In 2019, we partnered with this chapter of the national organization to distribute hundreds of coats provided by Macy’s to children and youth through their programs.
- African American Association of Georgia In 2019 in partnership with DSW, we provided brand new shoes that were distributed through their programs. AAAG works to create solutions for disadvantaged youth by equipping families through customized programs and connecting them to new opportunities.
- USA Friends of Association Haitian Table Tennis Haitian Technical Director Mozart Francois has worked at mentoring and providing safe spaces for youth to learn table tennis. Last year, we sent brand new shoes to be distributed to children in their educational programs.
- Creative Girls Rock Birthed from Charmin A. Bates’s passions for creative arts and youth empowerment, this Nashville-based organization works to empower young girls to utilize their creative talents in unique ways to enhance creativity; and, to foster balanced living, personal growth and happiness. Last year, through our work with Macy’s, we provided brand new prom dresses that were distributed to girls in the program.
In addition to all these incredible organizations and the work we accomplish with them, our 4EveryKid program wouldn’t be possible without the work of some amazing individuals. These Black female leaders are a force to be reckoned with, and we are grateful for their dedication to working with homeless youth in their communities. Thank you to:
Deidra Thomas-Murray, Students in Transition Coordinator at St. Louis Public Schools
Barbara Holt-Streeter, Office of Community Partnerships and District CEO Dr. Monica Goldson at Prince George’s County Public Schools
Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools
We are grateful for all of these organizations and individuals year-round, but this month in particular, we recognize that without their partnerships, so much of our work at Soles4Souls would not be possible.