Costa Rica Soles4Souls Shoe Distribution – Part 1 “The Team”

A brief introduction note. I started this blog many times before deciding it really needed to be split in to two blogs. So much happened in one week, it is really hard to put in to words for just one blog. A side note, Thank you for all of the encouraging words and personal notes about the work with Soles4Souls, I appreciate all of you with all of my heart! Enjoy friends. 

“Welcome to Cedcas!” As Lillian, our trip host from Costa Rica welcomed our Soles4Souls travel group to her country, we took a tour of our living quarters for the next week.

After the tour, our group did introductions and why we all chose to travel with Soles4Souls to help wear out poverty.

When you first meet people, I think there is always that initial story, and then by the end of the trip, the opportunity sometimes presents itself for them to really open up and bare their “Soul” so to speak. This was definitely one of those trips and the best part was it wasn’t just one person that completely opened up….everyone did.

These trips are half and half for me. Half is the opportunity to connect with hundreds and sometimes thousands of children in other countries helping to wear out poverty, which is the overlying mission to Soles4Souls. The other half is the people who travel and watching them experience something that they will never forget when meeting these children and bonding as a team. I have traveled for nearly half of my life now and these Soles4Souls trips are truly a one of a kind experience that leave a lasting impact in the countries we visit and your heart.

The below team worked hard and united the whole week distributing shoes. It was amazing how easily we all fit in to the different areas to server whether sizing washing feet, placing the shoes on the children or coloring their shoes with them. Taylar Proctor from Soles4Souls was our team leader and she did an amazing job, her leadership allowed our group to flourish!

Top Row Left to Right: Anita, John, Sarah, Eric, Nina, Jerry, Daniel, myself. Bottom Row Left to Right: Taylar, Bill, Phil, Christine, Lindsey, Lilliana, Madeline, Kevin

Phil and Jerry: Phil and Jerry are both from Iowa. They work at one of the Soles4Souls collection warehouse and won the trips!!

Sarah C: An army veteran that overcame homelessness to start her own non-profit “Torch”. She serves free meals to homeless around Michigan. To find out about her non-profit and the inspiring work she is doing, visit

My roommate! We had a blast together being roommates☺ She oversees all of the charity and PR with BonTon Stores. A seasoned triathlete, She has worked with Soles4Souls for a few years and thanks to her they have donated over $200,000! I could not have imagined a better roommate to chat with into the later hours of the night and speed walk with up to the top of mountains so we kept out health in balance while traveling. To find out more about Bon Ton, visit : 

They called themselves our Grandma and Grandpa for the trip, but these two absolutely amazing people have been married for 55 years. Anita was originally from Nazi Germany and her parents fled to the US eventually settling in Lond Island where she met Bill. Living underground for years during the Hitler era, they faced extremely difficult circumstances as a family and she understands what a new pair of shoes can do to give someone a chance. She has been collecting for a few years and to date has donated more than 30,000 shoes to Soles4Souls! They won their trips because of how many they have donated!!!

Daniel and Lindsey: They are from LA. Daniel is originally from Kenya and moved to LA when he was 5. When he was in school a friend some him with a unique bracelet one day and asked for one. He started making bracelets for people to buy and a few years later Rastaclat was born. His message is “Spreading positive vibes” and he partners with different charities to help fundraise for them. Soles4Souls has been one of the partners they support. To find out more, visit

John: Holding base in Nashville, TN, John has been a wonderful supporter of not only Soles4Souls, but thousands through his John E. Mayfield charitable foundation. A rough past in life and recovered alcoholic, he turned his life around after finding his faith and now pursues helping others through many ways. To find out more about his amazing kindness, visit

Karina : We call her Nina and she was out second translator. Her laugh is contagious and she was always around to help everyone. She works with Ecco who has been a Soles4Souls supporter and she won the trip through writing and Essay! All of the kids loooove Nina and the locals as well, she was such a tremendous help and so fun to be around.

Eric: An Ecco employee who travels all over, Eric was also fluent in Spanish and able to win the trip by writing an Essay. He was labeled the trip comedian and with good cause, as he shared his journal every day of the trip highlights. We found ourselves aching from laughter and even with superhero names for fun. Between John Mayfield, Eric and Kevin, it was like traveling with a stand-up comedy act ☺

Kevin: One of Soles4Souls executives, Kevin was amazing at sharing in detail all of the amazing efforts Soles4Souls is doing nationally and globally. He was fluent in Spanish as well and became the co-pilot for our bus driver Oscar. Truly amazing at his job with Soles4Souls, Kevin is a tremendous asset for them and I am thankful he was able to travel with our group.

Taylar: One of the Soles4Souls travel coordinators, this was my first experience with Taylar, but an amazing one. I have found ALL of Soles4Souls staff is amazing and gel very well together. They are kind hearted, yet driven individuals who know how to work well together. Taylar was very organized, yet laid back enough to watch the team work together and bond.

Part 2 of the Costa Rica trip will be on the process for the distribution and what children’s stories stuck with me. I will be processing this one a bit one, there is much to think about. Thank you for joining us on this journey!

If you would like to travel with Soles4Souls, there are many upcoming trips, but specifically with Mrs. International January 2nd-6th and we will also be traveling to Guatemala March 24th-28th where I will actually be co-leading the trip! Please feel free to message me for further details to help us wear out poverty!!

Our group was able to travel to the top of a volcano and take some fun pictures together!

Live What you Love,

Your Mrs. International 2014



  1. Great overview of the fantastic distribution experience. The smiles, high-fives, and hugs broke down any language communication barriers there might of been with some of us who have limited, if any, mastery of the Spanish language. So many adorable kids, who regardless of their level of poverty, seemed so happy! God is good and regardless of where we live or what our circumstances may be, we are all a part of His family. S4S is helping to facilitate a way we can help our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Thanks S4S! Phil Grove


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