Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: New Orleans Outreach

This week I got to meet Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes. If you haven’t heard of the shoes…you are probably living under a rock. He has been featured in Time, People, and Vanity Fair. But, just in case you haven’t heard he makes traditional Argentine style shoes and for every pair he sells he gives one pair away to a child in need, social entrepreneurship at its finest. See here I go proving Blake right. He says his customers are his best advertisers and because of this he never needs to spend a dime on advertising. I guess I am advertising for him right now. However, I think I am more advertising his idea.

Green Light New Orleans follows his model by including the cost for a free installation in every regular purchase order (I hope I am quoting Lindsey right). However, I am not a customer of TOMS, I don’t think the shoes offer much foot support. And better yet I think I’d rather buy a pair of payless shoes that have some support for half the price and donate them. Further, I am a little weary of a man who stands behind a picture of himself in Vanity Magazine for over twenty minutes and talks about himself. Did he really do that? Yes.  Let me be clear I like the idea and all the good that has been done, but maybe there are better replicas/potential replicas of this model out there.

That being said I met Mr. Blake this week and it did not come anywhere near as thrilling as when I was able to successfully place a volunteer with a student. It was a beautiful union between a dedicated young college graduate and a young boy with a troubled home life. They hit it off smashingly well. In fact meeting Blake was even less thrilling than meeting the Rustic Pathways kids. And you know what? I can’t help but think that Blake would agree. -Kelly Holmes, AmeriCorps VISTA Member

To learn more about Kelly’s work at New Orleans Outreach, visit their website at: http://www.nooutreach.org

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About Tulane VISTA

Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

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