SPREADING HOPE ACROSS THE GLOBE - 6 GREAT INITIATIVES TO KNOW ABOUT
The best things in life come in pairs, right?
Ham and Cheese (sorry vegans)
Socks and Sliders
Hipsters and Overpriced Coffee
Rom Coms and Hugh Grant
To be honest with you, I’m not really sure that any of these could actually be considered great combinations. That being said, there are plenty of things in this world that go together wonderfully well (and not just in my opinion).
At OutsideIn, there are two things that we believe go together better than Peanut Butter and Jelly on a thick-sliced sandwich: HOPE and SOCIAL IMPACT.
I once read a quote by the author, Hal Lindsay, that said: “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air...but only for one second without hope.”
Just like it did the first time, it still hits me right in the feels.
Hope is an unquantifiable experience that drives humanity forward. Without it, there is no progress, no change, and ultimately, no purpose in life. It propels us into the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, giving us the prospect and promise of a future.
Whichever way you look at it, we all need hope in our lives and those that attempt life without it, well, they aren’t really living at all are they?
Far too many times I have seen the impact of a hopeless life and when this happens, the only thing that seems to be left is death.
Unfortunately, I have witnessed this reality in the lives of many individuals. A very common example that I have seen time and time again is individuals who have suffered immeasurably at the hands of those they should have been able to trust. And so often when I ask these individuals the question, “What do you hope for in life?” The answer is, “I hope for it to be over soon.” For these individuals and so many others, this is the result of a life without hope.
You see, hope isn’t just something that looks nice as a pretty stencil hanging on your living room wall. Hope is the very essence of a life fulfilled, it’s the fire that fuels potential and ignites an enthusiasm for what’s ahead. In many ways, when a person has hope they are unstoppable.
At OutsideIn the driving force behind our Social Impact is our mission to bring hope to those on the outside of society, the ones who often find themselves without it. We want our products and our purpose to unite people across the divides of society, the insiders and the outsiders, by reminding each person who engages with OutsideIn that hope is available to them. We believe that if we can simply plant a few small seeds of hope into the lives of our customers and those experiencing homelessness, we will see a movement of hope-filled, future-focused individuals who are ready to change the world.
As a team of individuals who are passionate about helping people help people, we believe that people want to help, sometimes they just don’t know how to.
With this in mind, we thought we would share a few brands, people and initiatives that are doing a phenomenal job of bringing hope to the hopeless in their respective spheres. We hope that these stories will inspire and encourage you to join in on the movement and seek out the ways, whether big or small, in which you too can spread the message, the power and the reality of hope to those in your world.
Alleviating the problem of impaired vision is at the heart of what Warby Parker do, and with the help of their customers, over 8 million pairs of glasses have been distributed through their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair programme. 2.5 billion people around the world need glasses but don’t have access to them. Of these, 624 million cannot effectively learn or work due to the severity of their visual impairment.
To help address this problem, Warby Parker is working with a handful of partners worldwide to ensure that for every pair of their glasses purchased, a pair of glasses is distributed to someone in need.
There are two models they employ:
1) Empowering adult men and women with training opportunities to administer basic eye exams and sell glasses for ultra-affordable prices. This accounts for the majority of their distribution.
2) Directly giving vision care and resources to school kids in their classrooms - where visual impairment is usually spotted in the first place!
Warby Parker is helping to bring small glimpses of hope to those who cannot afford glasses but desperately need them across the globe and we for one are completely in awe of the difference their efforts are making.
Four incredible women from Northern Ireland recognised that many young women leaving the care system are unfortunately subject to issues of human trafficking and unemployment and decided that it was time to do something about it. And so, Olive Lane NI was born with a desire to change the life of those affected by these tragic realities and to create the future these care leavers deserve. To achieve this, Olive Lane NI has created a programme that focuses on recognising the value and dignity through the simple (and tasty) mechanic of making granola. However, unlike any old granola on the shelves, the creation behind Olive Lane’s granola teaches these women how to recognise their potential and further equips them with skills they can take into future opportunities.
The programme includes various training sessions that develop their practical skills as well as their self-esteem. As a fellow Northern Irish brand, we are so proud of the work Olive Lane is doing and we can’t wait to see how they continue to restore hope in the lives of those who desperately need it!
COB ON WOOD
And so, meet Cob On Wood. This special project was brought to life by a group of Oakland, California locals who gathered together to build a collection of small structures made entirely from foraged materials. These structures meet essential physical needs such as food, clothing, shelter and medical services, as well as providing a strong sense of community and dignity to the vulnerable residents who use these services. One of our favourite things about this village is that it was brought to life through the collaborative efforts of the residents - both the housed and the unhoused. It is a true representation of both ends of society working together to bridge the gap in its divide and in doing so, these incredible individuals have created an effective and meaningful solution to a very real issue. If the Cob On Wood project can teach us anything, it’s that spreading hope in our communities starts with coming together and using our unique skills and abilities to make a difference.
SHOES FOR SOULS
16-year-old Lindsay Sobel is making waves in the USA after using her Bat-Mitzvah to set up a unique project that provides a form of relief to individuals experiencing homelessness. From a young age, Lindsay realised that many rough sleepers don't have access to shoes, making life that little bit more difficult than it already is. Moved by the recognition of this need and determined to play a part in changing it, Lindsay decided she had to do something. After using her Bat-Mitzvah to get the ball rolling, Lindsay’s project quickly gained momentum and is now an accredited non-profit organisation called Shoes For Souls. Its mission is to provide shoes to those without them by collecting donations of both new and hardly-used shoes of all sizes and styles. So far, Shoes For Souls has provided 38,000 pairs of shoes to those experiencing homelessness and during the 2020 pandemic alone, they provided 7,000 pairs of shoes to those in need! We have three words: WELL DONE, LINDSAY!
Imogen Newbold is a 12-year-old superstar who has blown us all away with her passion to help those in need. We learned about Imogen and her passion for social impact after she requested to have her OutsideIn ‘Share One’ items to donate herself. She then used her social media platforms to create a conversation around the issues of homelessness, encouraging her followers to take time to learn about the issues themselves and sharing some of the ways she and her family were committing to making an impact in the lives of these vulnerable individuals.
We are so proud of Imogen and the difference she and her siblings are making in the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness. She certainly hasn’t let age get in the way of her passion to help others and whether young, old or kinda in the middle - neither should you! With people like Imogen so determined to make a change, hope knows no limits.
HELP BRISTOL'S HOMELESS
Meet Jasper Thompson, Founder of the game-changing organisation, Help Bristol’s Homeless. Jasper and his team believe that to make a real impact in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, addressing the issue of a lack of housing is key. Their main priority is to get individuals off the street and into safe, stable and comfortable accommodation.
Now you might be wondering how exactly they achieve this. Simply put, Help Bristol’s Homeless has created a gated community of self-contained, micro flats that are made primarily from shipping containers. These unique developments provide vulnerable individuals with hospitable temporary accommodation until they can find and afford permanent residence. Both the organisation and its volunteers are dedicated to giving the individuals who call their houses a home the dignity, respect and security they deserve. By doing so, they have empowered countless individuals to find their feet as well as a new lease on life. The heart behind this organisation is one that beats for hope. We are so encouraged by Jasper and his team and how they continue to guide people in a direction that is filled with dignity, spilling with optimism and brimming with hope.