September 13th-15th was the 1st Annual Sole Hope Ambassador Retreat in Asheville, North Carolina! Ryan and I were fortunate to be able to go, even though we had just been in Asheville about a month ago on our honeymoon. We went back and forth a lot on whether we could/should go, but I’m so glad that we did. Ryan was so sweet to spend his birthday at a retreat with me. :) But – I think he thought it was worth it when we snuck away and had delicious dinner & dessert in Asheville on Saturday night.
The retreat really motivated me to continue to be involved with Sole Hope – which is why I really wanted to go to the retreat. I knew it would help me feel connected and inspired. I’ll be the first to admit that I have been super busy and Sole Hope has taken the back burner. I have been an ambassador for a little over a year, and was a roll for a while making videos and graphics for Sole Hope. Now I plan to get back to that and dedicate consistent time to it again.
Before we left to the retreat, I (finally!) had my first shoe-cutting party. I’ve attended several of Ashley’s parties, but never had my own. I had it during our regular small group time on Wednesday night and the ladies loved it! Not everyone could come because toddlers & scissors may not be the best combination, but that’s okay! ;) With 6 of us, we made 13 pairs of shoes and sponsored 6 of them – yay! Everyone was already talking about having another shoe-cutting party and I’m so glad they’re on board.
I feel like I learned SO much during the short time at the retreat. We talked about shoe parties, brainstormed, and made monthly ambassador goals for the year. A professional talked to us about fundraising, a man from Uganda told about his first hand account with jiggers, and we heard about the medical clinics that Sole Hope is hosting in Uganda. We even got to video chat with Asher & Dru (the founders) in Uganda! With every session and discussion, we were able to ask questions. Oh and – we took a barefoot hike -uphill on rocks, sticks, etc – to put ourselves in the place of the shoeless. It was eye opening and painful! The trip ended with a “tour” of the Sole Hope office in downtown Asheville.
This week I will be helping with a huge shoe-cutting party at the Influence Conference in downtown Indy. I’m really excited about that and excited to continue to spread the word about Sole Hope. :)
Right now Sole Hope is trying to raise funds to buy more sewing machines and hire more shoemakers in Uganda. A sewing machine costs about $1,000 and will enable Sole Hope to produce and give away even more shoes. Consider buying this t-shirt from Chrome Buffalo and $11 will go to Sole Hope. The fundraiser ends in one week.