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The start of SAP’s Month of Service is officially less than a month away. As SAP employees search for ways to give back, it is worth highlighting one particularly worthwhile cause: the donating of unused, gently-worn shoes.

It is amazing to think it, but the gently-worn shoes sitting in your closet right now can transform someone’s life. 300 million children around the globe do not have shoes, which leaves them susceptible to getting cuts and being infected by soil-transmitted diseases and parasites. It also acts as a barrier to receiving an education, one of the surest ways to break the cycle of poverty, as children without shoes struggle to walk to school, or are barred from the classroom.

Donating your shoes also has another positive, closer-to-home impact: it helps the environment. Every year 300 million pairs of shoes end up in US landfills, contributing to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

Here at SAP, we’re fortunate to have someone who is championing this cause. But you won’t see her walking around the office, or even working remotely, for that matter. That’s because she has yet to enter high school.

Olivia, the 13-year-old daughter of SAP-colleague Denise Russo, through her organization Save the Earth Projects (S.T.E.P.), is on a mission to do as much good as she can, and to make the world a better place. And it is a mission that is driven by personal experience.

In 2009 a presidentially-declared FEMA flood hit her hometown in Georgia, devastating her home and life as she knew it. Olivia was so moved by the kindness of strangers to go out their way to help her and her family recover, she felt the need to give back, in every way she could, to others in need.

This is why Olivia founded S.T.E.P.—when she was just 10 years old. Its flagship program is the collection and shipping of shoes to those in need, in both the developing and developed worlds, but it is beginning to support other causes, too—combatting bullying and food insecurity, supporting entrepreneurism, for instance.

With Month of Service fast-approaching, consider taking the time to become involved in Leave a GOOD Footprint. Olivia, for one, appreciates it: “When people start helping it touches me deep inside, because people are feeling something in their hearts.”

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  1. Gretchen Lindquist

    Christopher,

    STEP certainly sounds like a valuable organization with worthy goals, and its founder is to be commended for starting it at such at tender age. However, your blog post would be more effective if you had written it keeping in mind your SCN member audience, the vast majority of whom are not SAP employees.  “Even if you’re a remote employee” naturally leads me to wonder- what if we are not SAP employees at all? The link you provided is not accessible, so I gather that it is accessible only to SAP employees.  While the activity sounds very worthy, please keep the SCN audience in mind in the future.

    Gretchen 

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    1. Christopher Putvinski Post author

      Hi Gretchen,

      You’re absolutely right..sorry about that–I at least hope you enjoyed hearing Olivia’s story, though, as my goal was to tell her story and all the great things she’s managed to accomplish. Apologies again!

      Christopher

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