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The Informed Parent

Good Deeds And Your Family, Part 1

by Shanna R. Cox, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on May. 18, 2009

This past weekend I was reading through the newspaper, which is a luxury my husband and I enjoy when we have the time. One section featured a segment that was highlighting good works being done by individuals for others and for the environment. While all the efforts were noteworthy and interesting, as a pediatrician I was drawn to one organization’s cause and dedication to children. TOM’S SHOES made an impact on me that day in more ways than one.

Reading through the article, I found the story itself inspiring. One person encounters another and witnesses their plight. That person engages himself in the problem by doing rather than simply allowing an issue to be a mental exercise. This was all very invigorating to me.

In 2006 Blake Mycoskie founded TOM’S SHOES with a simple idea: GET SHOES ON FEET! At this point in time shoes have been put on the feet of over 140,000 children around the world. With this accomplishment Mr. Mycoskie’s company protects the feet of these children from the normal day-to-day physical elements. Also, and more importantly, the shoes protect them from the risk of acquiring invasive parasitic disease from contaminated soils. In places such as Argentine, Haiti and many others, it is possible to acquire devastating disease from parasites that can enter through the soles of feet. Therefore, children who are simply playing or helping with household chores can be sickened suddenly, resulting in a wide array of potential illnesses. Of course these children also need shoes on their feet for the same reason our children here in the United States do--to protect them from injury, heat, or other traumas.

Although this is an enlightening story in itself, what propelled me into action was the follow-through that is the foundation of TOM’S SHOES. It is a notion of one-for-one, meaning one pair of shoes is purchased and, in turn, one pair of shoes are put on the feet of a child. Truly equal distribution.

This model easily and effectively answers the questions of what you are doing by buying their product and where the money you spend is going. While your one hand is opening the new box of shoes, essentially your other hand is taking another pair and putting them on two small feet. This kind of direct effect certainly affected me. This past weekend I ordered my pair of these smart and simple shoes. TOM’S calls this conscious capitalism. I call it an opportunity to shine and share with family and friends the myriad ways we can help each other.

In our next article we’ll talk about finding a story, project or cause that inspires your family. How will it offer unique opportunities for family activities, discussion and value building? In the meantime, feel free to check out TOM’S SHOES on their website,

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