What followed over the next few years was a meaningful journey that I can never forget. The most significant effort that I made in establishing SOX IN A BOX was to set and carry out the goals that would define and build my charity. My first goal was to empower all people, especially teens like me, with the tools of understanding and education about people in need. Second, I want to wipe away the inaccurate perception that many people, especially young people, comprise an indifferent, uncaring part of society. Third, I wanted to inspire in others the exhilaration, joy, and immense satisfaction that come from “giving back”. Finally, I wanted to figure out a way that I could make my charity operate efficiently so that we could reach as many needy people as possible.
To accomplish these goals, I launched multiple sock drives in my community, wrote to local and national business companies to ask for sock donations, spoke before countless small and large groups and clubs, visited TV and radio stations, and even took out an ad in local newspapers. With the advice and help of neighbors and friends, I left my garage and moved into a donated office. I mastered new skills including learning how to make a spreadsheet, keep a running inventory of socks, purchase needed equipment on a limited budget, create and draw a logo, recruit more volunteers, train and appoint team leaders who could supervise the inventorying, labeling, and packing up of each pair of socks when I was in school and could not be at the “Sox” office. The most difficult part of establishing SOX IN A BOX was attaining a non-profit status for my charity. An IRS agent personally called me after two years of trying and told me that I was one of the youngest people in America to be awarded a 501 (c) 3 designation for a non-profit organization.
My final goal was not only to deliver socks to people but, also, to show in a personal way that each person on this earth matters! To that end, I made every effort to deliver many of the socks that my charity collected in person and to interact with as many people as possible. A special joy came from working with kids and helping them with their desire to learn English, teaching them how to draw and make jewelry with materials that I carried with me, comforting them when they needed assurance, and, in the case of my many international new friends, answering their myriad of questions about life in the United States. My objective for the coming year is to reach our target goal of sending at least one million pairs of new socks to some of the poorest people around the globe!