Thank you to our friends at Cville Sock Love for sharing their story with us on the Sincerely, Story House blog. Keep reading below to discover how a small gesture sparked a passion for warming the “soles” of those in the Charlottesville community.
We get asked all the time how and why we started Cville Sock Love. In sharing our story, we hope that families and others who interact with children will talk about the importance of community involvement and encourage youths to find ways of their own to contribute.
Cville Sock Love, now in its sixth year, grew from a small gesture. In 2016, our dentist’s office was collecting items to donate to a community cause. We brainstormed ideas of what we could donate with our parents, and eventually settled on contributing socks! In between shopping for the socks and eventually dropping them off, we realized how rewarding it was to contribute and make an impact in our community. Later that year, during the holiday season, our family shopped for angel tree gifts, and it was socks again that we chose to donate.
Our passion for donating socks grew and, with some encouragement, we decided to make giving away socks our “thing.” We both loved the idea of doing something that united our two interests, improving the mental and physical well-being of children, especially those faced with difficult situations. Over the next year, we collected new socks that we thought kids would enjoy, and in 2017, at ages 12 and 14, we made our first holiday donation to UVA Children’s Hospital. It was a great way to lift the spirits of kids receiving treatment, and to provide some relief for the families that love and support them.
Every year since then, we’ve returned to UVA Children’s Hospital to donate socks. Now, we do the same for kids at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. We also provide socks for area shelters and social services organizations. Last year, thanks to a successful community sock drive, we managed to give away nearly 4,000 pairs.
In these past six years, we’ve learned so much. What started as a small gesture has grown into valuable lessons about relationship building, fundraising, and promotions, and we’re better students and citizens because of this experience. With the support of those around us, we’ve discovered how powerful and contagious kindness can be, and how one small gesture can be a catalyst for changing the community.
If you take anything from the story of how we built Cville Sock Love as youths, we hope it’s inspiration. Children are full of ideas. We’re thankful that people listened to ours. Who knows, a child in your household, classroom, or neighborhood may just be looking to you for a little encouragement and guidance to do great things!
If you or a child you know wants to do something to help the community, here are some simple steps for getting started.
Step 1: Identify a need.
- Who do you want to help and why? Think it through.
Step 2: Find a mentor or partner.
- Mentors are all around us! Consider family, friends, club sponsors, church leaders, etc. Most individuals you ask will offer their guidance if they have the time. If not, they may point you to someone who does.
Step 3: Set a realistic goal.
- The more specific, the better. If you’re guiding a young child, see that their initial goal is manageable and attainable, so that the odds of success are greatest.
Step 4: Make a plan.
- Start by brainstorming a list of ways that you might accomplish your goal. Determine when your effort will start and end. Next, outline the steps you’ll take to put your plan into action. Will you be giving your time to a cause? If so, create a schedule for volunteering. Will you raise funds or collect items for donation? Consider a fundraising campaign or donation drive tied to a special occasion, like a birthday. Invite friends to participate.
Step 5: Recruit others to lend a hand.
- Ask for support from within your personal sphere, then work outward. People will want to help you if you explain what you need from them. Leverage your communication and social media skills to spread the word.
Step 6: Watch the goodness grow!
- Make any adjustments necessary to continue making progress toward your goal.
Step 7: Track & share your results.
- Contributors will want to hear about the impact of your efforts! Middle and high school students, scouts, etc. with community service requirements should record the time they invest and document specific outcomes. Their work may qualify them for special recognition. The greatest reward, in the end, is the incomparable feeling gained from helping others!
Learn more about Cville Sock Love by visiting their website at https://www.cvillesocklove.org/.