HOW WE STARTED
ESPN produced a documentary on Serge Ibaka, aptly named “Son of the Congo”. It traced Serge’s trajectory from a young boy escaping war torn Congo through his rise against the odds to stardom in the NBA, and back to the Congo where he shares his love of basketball with the kids there. There was one especially poignant scene where some teenage boys with obvious talent were hot and heavy on the court. One young boy in particular caught my eye.
He moved with grace, had obvious talent, and was the age of my son. He had no basketball shoes.
Leaving our comfortable house in Lakeway, Texas to run an errand, I thought to myself that if I knew how to do it, I would send that kid a pair of shoes. Sitting on a shelf, two pairs of size 12 Nike Hyperdunks, barely used before being outgrown, caught my eye. As they say, “a light bulb went off”, and the concept of ShoesForTwo was conceived. It’s simple – gather up good quality basketball shoes, probably outgrown and with a second court life left in them, clean and disinfect them, put them into new shoe boxes, then get them to other kids who need them.
My family was immediately enthusiastic about the idea. Then the concept was shared with my son’s basketball Coach at Lake Travis High School who readily embraced it. Then so did the girls’ high school coach. It was obvious that a self renewing, unless kids’ feet suddenly stop growing, supply of high quality basketball shoes existed, along with people in positions of influence who would support the ShoesForTwo concept. As word got out, a local school principal saw receiving the shoes as a great way to help parents and students in her school district. Other opportunities for distributing the shoes locally became abundant.
Then we got connected with a charitable organization, ACTION International, who works at the grass roots level with families across the globe. They embraced the concept and plans were made for participation in the program. ShoesForTwo had barely taken its first steps, and we were international . Who knows, maybe we will still be able to find that boy in the Congo and get him some shoes. Maybe he’ll be a size 12. One pair of those Hyperdunks has been set aside, just in case.
See the YouTube video above, starting at 7:49