Reflecting on the Past Year...

December 21, 2016

From the blog of our president and CEO, Buddy Teaster
I’m just one guy and no doubt you’re seeing a zillion of these ”year end” kind of messages from friends and strangers. Instagram is covered with people sharing inspirational quotes, and so is Facebook. Why add another one? My mind keeps turning back with an overwhelming sense of gratitude after spending last week in Honduras where our board members and executive team met with our in-country partner at World Compass Foundation. (You can check out all our micro-enterprise partners here.) Gratitude to the amazing entrepreneurs who are taking control of their lives by selling shoes through our micro-enterprise program, as well as the shoe distribution in a very challenged Garifuna community near Tela.
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Here’s a quote I came across recently that seemed perfect after returning from our meetings in Honduras: “Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted–a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner
Gratitude toward the thousands and thousands of people who, every day, help make that possible. People donating shoes. People collecting shoes. Corporate leaders like Zappos and Stride Rite who engage with their customers through Soles4Souls. People contributing their hard earned dollars to support disaster relief. Really, some days my knees get a little weak thinking about how many of you there are who care about making the world a better, more compassionate, healthier place.
In turn, there are, literally, tens of millions of people who benefit from all the shoes and clothes we are able to distribute for free and donate toward our job creation programs. People who are safer, better fed, better educated and more hopeful.
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So, yeah, gratitude for all that has to line up in the world for that to be possible…for that to be growing and touching more people.
The last thing I’d like to close with comes from our many years of going to First Unitarian Church of Dallas, which I miss greatly, that is said to all new members but is probably one of my favorite blessings of all time. And I wish the same for you, your family and friends in the year ahead:  May your thoughts be wise, your lips speak truth, your heart know love and the work of your hands be blessed all the days of your life.