For Rikki Mendias, the founder of Hav A Sole, a pivotal moment of his childhood occurred when he experienced an act of kindness while living in a shelter with his mom, who was recovering from the throes of addiction. For those of you who may not know the story of Hav A Sole, this act of kindness was when a woman gave him a new pair of shoes. While young Rikki experienced the immediate effects from this selfless act on a personal level, in retrospect, that gesture also carried depth and weight in ways no one could have imagined. From the love that encompassed the receipt of that first pair of new shoes in the early 90s, a ripple effect ensued which in turn, cultivated the dream of the nonprofit we know today – Hav A Sole.

Last Thursday, Hav A Sole participated in the Mission Miracle Kick-Off Event, an initiative by the CLARE|MATRIX foundation focused on volunteerism and in-kind giving. With the unity of CLARE|MATRIX employees, community members, a fellow non-profit called the Glamour Project and Hav A Sole, residents of the foundation were celebrated for beginning their journey in recovery from substance abuse. What made this event especially heartwarming was the fact that CLARE|MATRIX is the shelter Rikki lived in with his mom growing up, and where he was given that first pair of shoes that started it all.

While this was not our first time returning to where the seed of Hav A Sole was planted to serve the residents of CLARE|MATRIX, every time we visit this special place, we are struck with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. This reminder of coming “full circle”, from Rikki living in this shelter when he was a boy to returning with Hav A Sole in the present day, not only magnifies the blessings of life but also embodies a message of hope. In the same breath, it symbolizes how one act of kindness can leave an everlasting impression on someone.

This is why Hav A Sole is about so much more than just shoes. Hav A Sole is all about connecting with people and helping them feel seen, no matter where they are on their journey. With each pair of shoes we give, we continue to step closer to changing the world one “sole” at a time. From everyone at the Hav A Sole Organization, thank you to the CLARE|MATRIX Foundation and all that were involved in the Mission Miracle Kick-Off Event for making this special day possible.