“Go at it boldly, and you’ll find unexpected forces closing round you and coming to your aid,” wrote Basil King.
He was a turn-of-the-century preacher who became a writer after going blind. The truth of this we all experience in varying degrees. I’ve done exceedingly bold things and been rewarded, and at other times been horribly let down and embarrassed. Part of the journey of life is learning that failure isn’t fatal and that the more often we act boldly, the more often we’ll succeed.
Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” is just one more way of phrasing that a penchant for action is the most likely way to get to the top of the heap in whatever you are doing or pursuing.
This is a modern story of a young man who felt the need to give back to his community. I wrote about him and his nonprofit in February. His story is unique only in that he has pushed further and acted more boldly than most. It was with a can-do mindset that Rikki Mendias founded Hav A Sole. The nonprofit’s mission is to distribute new and gently used sneakers to those in need.
For a year now, Rikki and his friend Dash have been helping the needy by distributing shoes to the homeless and those in need. This past weekend they had a party and about 50 of us came together in celebration of a year’s worth of good work. Being a nonprofit has its benefits and one of those is being able to gather donations for a silent auction. Hav A Sole’s operations director, Wendy Adamson, was head wrangler on the donation front and she was able to get local companies like Bike Attack and Rejuice to help out with silent auction items.
If you’ve never been to a silent auction, the next time you see a flyer or invitation to an event with one, I strongly suggest you go and check out the deals that are to be had. You can find gift cards and services at steeply discounted prices and it’s a great way to try something new. Hav A Sole had opportunities from Johnny Was (Santa Monica Promenade) and Pamela Barish Women’s Clothing.
Food and support was provided by Bob’s Market, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Polaris Teen Center, Aviatornation and Resolutions Therapeutic Services.
“I’m so grateful to all of our donors for their support in our first year. It’s been a wild ride and we have a lot of work to do, and we couldn’t do it without the help we’ve received,” said Mendias.
I like helping out nonprofits like Hav A Sole, there is something very rewarding about coming to the aid of someone who just wants to do good in the world and doesn’t have the weight of a bureaucracy dragging them down. Being at the party Sunday was a good window into the soul of Hav A Sole. There was a DJ, good food (way too many cakes and sweets for my own good!), there was paint a Frisbee machine and mask decorating for the little kids who were running around.
Rikki and Dash are prepping for their next road trip, hopefully to Detroit to get a donation from a car manufacturer so they can continue their filmmaking and shoe give aways. Their last road trip was to Washington state and they gave away shoes along the trek.
“We always have shoes in the truck to give away,” Mendias said.
Corporations are coming to see the benefits of partnering with Hav A Sole, whose leaders aresocial media savvy and have a good eye for filmmaking. Saucony is a major producer of high-quality shoes who has recently donated a large supply of shoes, some of which were distributed at Covenant House earlier this year.
You can help out Hav A Sole as well because they are always looking for more gently used and new shoes, and support for their next giveaway. If you have shoes or wish to make a donation, the website with contact information is HavASole.com. To learn more about Rikki Mendias and his story, watch the IAMGENERATIONIMAGE video on the website — it’s a beautiful piece that echoes the purpose of what he started just a year ago.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in fathers’ and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at email@example.com or 310-664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.