Let me take you back to 2010, no lets really go back to when it REALLY began. In 1981 I was in 7th grade and black GAS shoes, Gloria Vanderbilt, Jordache and those white canvas sneakers, "Nike" was the greatest thing around. (at least for me it was) I remember begging my mother and pleading on why I needed to wear Nike tennis shoes but only to hear, "We don't have the money." Yes, life went on and I dreamed that one day I would be one of the cool kids. Now the program begins! The after school bell rings and I rush home from school to find my mother sitting in our station wagon waving to me and yelling, “Come on we’re heading to K-mart!” Yes! Mom loved the blue light special and if I was lucky I would get either a hot pretzel, or we would dine in their cafeteria and share a hot apple dumpling after she searched the clearance racks. This one special trip to the store became a life lesson. As we headed over to the shoe aisle my mind began to once again think about those special tennis shoes, but reality quickly set in and I let it go. As I stood in front of racks and racks of shoes I looked over to see tears in my mother’s eyes. My mother looked at me and said, “LOOK don't they look like Nike?” I stood in awe! These were plain white canvas shoes and I couldn't believe my mother's excitement. Why was she so excited?
Mom! There’s no swoosh!
As we headed home my mother would begin stepping in the dream! Sharing how she would paint on a swoosh, how it would be our very own secret and with a little creativity dreams can come true. I was quickly on board! The swoosh was painted light blue and I headed to school the never next day. It worked! No one knew at least no one ever said anything. It doesn't matter. My mother's idea brought way more than just a new pair of shoes, fitting in with the crowd; it brought me, "the power of creativity, believing in your dreams and mostly importantly, hope."
Fast forward to July 2010 and as I sat in a hotel lobby in Anaheim, CA after winning the People Magazine All Stars Among Award. After 7,500 nominations and 1.7 million votes, Enchanted Makeovers was honored alongside 29 other nominees during the All Star Game with 30 million television viewers watching. Only 7 of the charities would be chosen to have a celebrity share about their mission during the game, and Enchanted Makeovers was one of them. Celebrity Sheryl Crow would share a very beautiful message about EM's mission with the world. After the awards and pausing to really let this moment sink in, I remember I began to closely watch these professional baseball players walking around and all of a sudden I heard, "They have, and continue to step into their dream, they continue to put footsteps to their prayers." My mind began to race, children need to visually see their dreams and they need to have them painted on their feet! It would become an affirmation every day, "I am stepping into my dream and putting footsteps to my prayers!
The sweet trip to K-mart in the 80's to Anaheim, CA in 2010 transformed into a National Program!
“Stepping Into the Dream” program is about connecting artists with children so they can share their dreams with each other. The child’s dream is then painted (together by the artist and the child) onto a pair of canvas sneakers.
Having a hand-painted “story” of the child’s dream on a pair of canvas sneakers will serve as a beautiful affirmation of the dream and a reminder that we each have the power to put “footsteps” to our prayers.
Being outside of ourselves and dreaming for others has a profound effect. It is transformative when we do so, for both ourselves and the person we are dreaming for. We are all a tapestry- one person woven right into the other, we must harness the strength and magnificence of our connection.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one good pair of shoes.” ~ Michael Gerrish