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Hinderman: Former Orland Park residents hope for ‘Giving Trip’

ShannCrotty (center) during her trip Open Arms Home for Children KomgSouth Africa. | Supplied photo

Shannon Crotty (center) during her trip to the Open Arms Home for Children in Komga, South Africa. | Supplied photo

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Updated: May 1, 2013 1:46PM



How about a wonderfully inspiring story?

Orland Park resident Shannon Crotty, a 2008 Carl Sandburg High School graduate who majored in political science and economics at the University of Notre Dame, is living and working in the Washington, D.C. area.

And she’s looking for help so that, in turn, she may help others. And, typical of Shannon, she’s also requesting that we help her friend, Kaitie McCabe, another Sandburg (2007) and Notre Dame (2011) graduate, take part in the same venture.

Shannon and Kaitie are asking that we vote for them in the TOMS Ticket-to-Give contest. TOMS, a shoe company, employs a business practice in that for every shoe purchased, another pair is sent to a developing country. If you’re not familiar with this company, you can learn about it at www.toms.com.

Shannon said she heard TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie speak at Notre Dame during her freshman year. Two years later, during a summer service program in South Africa, Shannon was able to see the TOMS model in action and was inspired to learn more about it and become more involved with such social entrepreneurship.

“I think what’s great about the TOMS model is that it takes a normal purchase and creates a second value in giving away that second pair of shoes,” she said. “In this way, TOMS captures our First World consumerism (and I mean that in the best way possible, I own two pairs) and harnesses it to fill the desperate need of those who currently go without. I think we need more efforts/business models like this that promote a social good at the same time that they seek to make a profit.”

By voting for Shannon, she and 49 others would be able to attend a TOMS Giving Trip and help distribute shoes to those in need.

“We would have the chance to meet with TOMS’ partner organizations and learn about how these groups are working to eradicate poverty where they work in developing countries,” she said. “For me, the trip would mean the chance to really explore TOMS’ “One for One” model through its full execution and learn more about how I might be able to affect change in a similar way in the future.“

Shannon said she first saw the “One for One” business model in action when she lived in Komga, South Africa for two months.

“I worked at a children’s home called Open Arms and had the opportunity to see the TOMS model in action when the children whom I was working with received the same brand of shoes I was wearing at the time,” she said. “(I’d like) a second chance at exploring the central truth I discovered then: We can harness the power of for-profit business for a greater good only when we truly understand the condition of those who live with less.”

Kaitie has similar reasons for entering the company’s contest. Now living and working in New York City, she also learned about TOMS while attending Notre Dame, but her experiences in the corporate world have furthered her appreciation for the company’s ability to transform a philanthropic effort into a business and a movement.

“I have been a longtime supporter of TOMS,” she says on her TOMS profile. “In college, I showed my support by buying the shoes and participating in awareness events like One Day Without Shoes. But after I graduated, I became acutely aware of how special, difficult and admirable it is to make a business out of making a difference.

“After doing more research on the causes that TOMS supports — economic, educational and health inequity — I decided that I wanted to support the company in a more impactful way. A Giving Trip would not only allow me to give back to a company and a mission that I believe in, but it would help further my passion for and understanding of how to professionally work toward a triple bottom line.”

So, there you have it. Two wonderful young women who are making Orland Park proud and who want to continue to do good things. Act quickly! The contest runs until April 12. The Giving Trip would take place between July and October.

To vote for Shannon, go to www.toms.com/ticket-to-give/flags/5535. To vote for Kaitie, it’s www.toms.com/ticket-to-give/flags/9962. You may vote for both girls, but only once each.

TOMS also sponsors “A Day Without Shoes,” which this year is April 16. The company asks that during that day, you go without shoes as much as possible to bring global awareness to the issues of children’s health and education.



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