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November 01, 2016

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SOLOist Spotlight: Kathy Wong

Meet Kathy Wong, founder and CEO of cause-based company, Moeloco. Moeloco is a flip flop retailer which provides one pair of canvas shoes to children in India per sale of their flip flops. To date, Kathy and Moeloco have donated 4,335 pairs of shoes to children in need. Their vibrant flip flops are painted with bright hues and eye-catching colors to denote an uplifting vibe. The most distinguishing feature perhaps, is the etching of positive messages in the soles, which leave inspiring phrases in impressionable surfaces (usually sand). With the help of their flip flops, Moeloco is changing the world one pair of shoes at a time.

So, Kathy,

What exactly is Moeloco?

Moeloco is a purposeful business. Our social enterprise operates on a one-for-one model. We create rubber flip flops that leave positive messages in the sand like "I am Peace," "Live Love," "Be Happy," and for every pair sold we donate a pair of canvas shoes to a child in poverty so that attending school is much less physically daunting.

What inspired you to create Moeloco—and why flip flops?

I had an epiphany in February 2014 that I needed to make a difference in the world. When I learned that there are over 300 hundred million children in the world without shoes and that many could not attend school because of this--or even that some were dying--I totally knew I had to help.

Why flip flops? It is actually quite the paradox when compared to the message we're sending through our goal to provide shoes for children with none. Flip flops are usually associated with happy times, the beach, or holidays, yet in countries like India where some children will never own a pair of shoes, they are a luxury item. There are millions of children I want to help and flip flops are the fastest growing footwear product in the world--it's a huge market. Providing shoes to a million children in India is absolutely realistic.

What’s one of the most exciting, memorable experiences you’ve had while at Moeloco?

Giving one of the children--whose name cannot be mentioned for purposes of privacy and safety--a pair of our shoes whilst visiting our charity partner in India was incredible. It was beautiful seeing his face light up when he received them. We later learned how much he truly treasures them; he was putting them under his pillow!

I'll never forget going to India and meeting the resilient children we support and the wholesome joy they have in their community despite having endured the most unspeakable tragedies.

What’s your favorite live and give story? In other words, what’s your favorite memory regarding an instance in which you gave back?

There was another boy--whose name also cannot be provided--we provided a pair of shoes to on our shoe giving trip. At 11 years old, he had been kidnapped at a train station and was dragged into the life of the underground. He has since been rescued and is now in full protection. When we presented him the shoes he cried and later came back over to show us his drawings. He is very talented.

What has been the most challenging aspect of building Moeloco?

Scaling the business on limited resources and little knowledge in logistics, distribution channels, or manufacturing was perhaps the most difficult. I'm pushing my limits continuously.

If you had one piece of advice to give to the readers—pertaining to anything—what would that be?

Don’t ever think you can't make a difference. We all have unique gifts to bring into the world, so use them. Anything is possible if you really know your "why" and engage communities in your efforts.

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For more on Kathy and the mission of Moeloco, you can check out their site here. See below for their social media!

Moeloco’s Instagram

Moeloco's Facebook

 

October 25, 2016

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SOLOist Spotlight: Dan Duerden

SO·LO·ist /ˈsōləwəst/ n : A person who embodies the Live and Give mission, who lives life to the fullest and gives back, who desires to make our world a better place and live a meaningful, adventurous life.

Hailing from Victoria, BC, Canada, adventurous educator, Dan Duerden, holds the SOLOist Spotlight for October. When Dan isn't instructing his students in Physics, Physical Education, Outdoor Education or Social Studies, he finds time to immerse himself in beautiful natural settings while documenting it through thought-provoking photography. Be sure to check out Dan's stunning work on his Instagram!

Instagram: @dduerds

So, Dan,

What's your favorite adventure as of recent?

Sometimes I get this urge to be outside: hiking, walking, climbing, somewhere new, somewhere old--the combination of these doesn’t seem to matter. My urge on this occasion was to camp outside and breathe some fresh air--simple formula and ingredients! I only had a day or so free due to my other passion: being with family and friends! So I ran outside and up island to Tofino and Ucluelet for a whirlwind 36 hours. Not a lot of sleep for me--a lot of driving and some beautiful coastal camping, hiking and starry nights. I was refreshed and recharged to pursue a balance of my other passions for a bit again!

As someone who balances many obligations and hobbies, what advice do you have for the readers?

Oftentimes it can feel tough to balance my urge to explore with my other passions (family and friends, educating, learning new skills and ideas, helping others). Whatever those important aspects of life happen to be for each of us, the challenge is the same: how should I spend the time I am alive on Earth? Here’s the amazing thing for me: when I spend time pursuing one passion even though I may be missing out on another, I’m still experiencing one, so can I really go wrong? We may not share the same passions, but whatever yours are, I encourage you to pursue them! SOLO is doing just that with a mission to provide eye care for those that can’t afford it through their business model!

If you could visit one place right now, where would it be?

I loved the Middle East. If I had to choose a specific country, I'd say Palestine or Jordan.

What's one random fact about you?

I can speak Arabic conversationally!

...and last but not least, what's your favorite frame?

Tie between Dominican & Zambia!

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If you are interested in being featured as a SOLOist on our website, please contact us at programs@soloeyewear.com.

 

World Sight Day Competition

World Sight Day is Thursday, October 13th. The purpose of World Sight Day is to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. 80% of the world's blindness is preventable!

To help raise awareness, we reached out and recruited three SOLOists to participate in a friendly competition. The prompt for the competition was: Share one photo that reflects how grateful you are for your sight.

View the 3 photos and Vote for your favorite one!

survey tool

Entry #1: Meghan Young (@missmeghanyoung)

"I'm eternally grateful for the gift of sight. Without it, I would never be able to experience the way these clouds teased the distant peaks while the larch trees glowed orange before them. Some moments are simply too powerful for words or even photos to capture and I revel in the beauty my eyes have allowed me to take in."

Entry #2: Dan Duerden (@dduerds)

"For me World Sight Day isn't just about the ability to see, or see clearly.  With so much of the world's blindness and impairment easily preventable, it's not that difficult to see a world where everyone is able to share these views!"

Entry #3: Kevin Monahan (@kevindeanmonahan)

"There is nothing that humbles me more than staring up at the stars and thinking about how small we really are and how much is actually out there in the universe. But when I have the chance to also watch a meteor shower then I know I'm lucky. These events and conditions don't come around too often throughout the year so I can't help but to say thanks to my vision and health for allowing me to see something that people only dream about!"

September 20, 2016

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Jorge's Story

After traveling to Vamos Tamaulipas, Mexico to help set up an eye care clinic, the SOLO team met Jorge, an ambitious 9 year old boy. Jorge was in the 3rd grade. He had noticed that he was unable to see the board in his classroom clearly unlike his peers. After learning about the eye care clinic that we were hosting, he took the initiative to come to the clinic by himself to get his vision checked. He waited in line for hours to be seen. While spending time with him, we learned that Jorge was living in a single parent household. His father worked long hours every day to provide for himself and Jorge. Every morning, Jorge would wake up on his own and get himself ready for school.

After a few hours, Jorge underwent an eye exam and was fitted with a new pair of eyeglasses. After receiving his new pair of glasses, he immediately began hugging each of the eye clinic volunteers. Jorge was incredibly grateful and now better able to reach his full potential.  

A volunteer optometrist is examining Jorge's vision. 

After receiving his glasses, Jorge returned to his school just a few
blocks from the eye care clinic. 

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 300 million people are in need of eye glasses and do not have access to them, and 80% of all visual impairment can be treated or cured. That is why we at SOLO Eyewear exist. Through our non-profit partners, Aravind Eye Care and Restoring Vision, we are able to address this great need in the world by donating 10% of our profits. Thank you for helping us restore vision for nearly 12,000 people to date.

September 20, 2016

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SOLOist Spotlight: Brandon Harrop

Meet SOLOist and Nocea’s very own Brandon Harrop! Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, this renaissance man is a singer/songwriter, actor, graphic designer and apparel designer, all while holding the title of commander-in-chief at Nocea. His creativity, passion for the outdoors, and adventurousness makes him great as a representative for SOLO eyewear. Be sure to check out Nocea's website and “leave a timeless impression” with their standout, stylish threads.

In case you're wondering what a SOLOist is...

SO·LO·ist /ˈsōləwəst/ n : A person who embodies the Live and Give mission, who lives life to the fullest and gives back, who desires to make our world a better place and live a meaningful, adventurous life.

Let's dive in!

Instagram: @_Nocea

So, Brandon,

What’s your most memorable giving experience?

Installing ropes along the Indian Bathtubs Trail. As you explore this scenic trail in Davis County in Utah, you'll find there are some steep slopes along it--and the rocks and dirt can be very slippery under your feet (particularly during the last 100 yards before you get to the Indian Bathtubs and waterfall). While we were adventuring up in this area we witnessed a family slip and fall and start to tumble down the trail. They got banged up pretty bad and it was a scary moment to witness. We committed ourselves at that time to return back to the trail and fasten some ropes throughout it so that future visitors would never have to go through a scary fall like the others before them (especially knowing this is a trail that attracts families and little ones). We’ve returned again to check on the conditions of the area and everything looks great. It's a much safer trail. Feels great to give back!

Can you explain the #getoutside movement?:

We (at Nocea) have a great love for the outdoors. We are constantly on the move exploring and finding new ways to inspire others through our travels. It's very important to us that everyone takes the time to #getoutside. There is so much beauty in this world and so many places that will take your breath away. For those that live the adventurous lifestyle, we encourage them to inspire others and join our team of "Outsiders" and press forward with the #getoutside movement. Everyone feels better when they go for a hike or spend a weekend camping--it's a healthier way to live.

The Nocea Team:
Myself - Owner
Austin Berenyi - Photographer
Josh Jorgensen - Photographer
James Vause - Writing
Alex Favero - Planning
Terry Hiatt - Product Manager

What’s your most favorite recent adventure?:

We recently returned from an unforgettable adventure along the Snake River up to the foot of the giant Shoshone Falls. It was absolutely incredible! Most visitors check out the falls from about 1,000 yards away on the observation deck. We opted for the 2 mile journey on paddle boards up the river where you can experience the 212x1,000ft falls up close and personal! It was so awesome to witness such power flowing from the sky. The scenery was breathtaking! We even found a bunch of swimming holes, did some cliff jumping and bathed in some of the smaller falls as well. The best part was having it all to ourselves! It's a trip I highly recommend--especially if you're into kayaking or paddle boarding.

What is a piece of advice you'd like to share with fellow SOLOists?:

My piece of advice comes from a good book called Into the Wild. It's exactly how I feel but more eloquently put:

"Make a radical change in your lifestyle! So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon filled with adventure!"

Favorite Frames?: Thailand and Zambia

What’s a random fact about you?:

When I was a kid I looked exactly like Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone. Everyone asked me to do the scream. 

 

If you are interested in being featured as a SOLOist on our website, please contact us at programs@soloeyewear.com.






August 18, 2016

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Living on the Road: SOLOists Eva & Jordan

Introducing Eva and Jordan, a couple who embarked on a yearlong adventure camping all the National Parks in the US for the National Park Service Centennial October of last year! As they wrap up the last few months of their journey, they share with us thrilling details of their expedition and their nomadic lifestyle. Make sure to swing by their Instagram pages!

Hometown:
[Jordan] Colorado Springs, Colorado
[Eva] Arlington, Texas

 Instagram:
[Jordan] @jordanjayvaughn
[Eva] @peachnectar

Tell us a little bit about yourselves - what were your lifestyles like before you started this expedition?
I (Jordan) grew up playing baseball year-round, so for ten years I lived in Colorado and didn’t explore all the amazing outdoor opportunities in the area. I graduated from UT Arlington in ’12 after playing baseball there, and began working at lululemon athletica where I met Eva. She had played soccer growing up had a similar sport-filled background. We decided to move down to Austin in ’14 and fell in love with the outdoors lifestyle. We began to spend weekends camping the Texas State Parks and adding to our camping gear. The combination of these weekend adventures and our goal-oriented culture at lululemon led to the crazy idea that we should take a giant leap and hit the road.

What do you two plan on doing after you complete this year-long journey?
We have really fallen in love with the on-the-road lifestyle so we are doing whatever we can to continue. We get married in April, so there is a lot of excitement for us in planning the wedding, and we have talked about backpacking Europe for a couple months as a Honeymoon. Our real passion is in helping people overcome the mental hurdles to living a life they love. Too often self-doubt and fear get in the way of us acting on our dreams. So, we are currently designing a journal for people to create and sustain self-development, creativity, and fulfillment.

Favorite place you visited during this trip:

[Jordan] It is so difficult to choose one place. Part of the wonder of the National Parks is how diverse they are. We just backpacked Glacier National Park for four days and it was stunning. I think it and Yosemite probably take the cake as far as grandeur and beauty go. I also love that you can spend a week in both these places and barely scratch the surface.
[Eva] As Jordan put it, it’s so tough to just pick one! A park that you don’t hear much about that stole my heart was Dry Tortugas National Park off the coast of the Florida Keys. It’s an island mostly taken up by an old Naval Fort. Never have I felt so secluded!

 

 

Most memorable giving experience:
[Jordan] Recently we donated to a couple friends who are going on a mission to Kenya to teach locals sustainable physical therapy practices. We were in a situation before we left for the trip where many of our friends and family helped us out, so it has really encouraged us to support those who are up to awesome things. Even small gifts can make a huge difference.

[Eva] What comes to mind for me is the time I spent in Haiti with the Mission of Hope. It was an unforgettable, humbling experience that made a huge impact on my life.

July 27, 2016

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MEET CREATIVE AMBASSADOR: JAMES FAZIO

This month we’re featuring our creative ambassador, James Fazio! Traveler, surfer, and filmmaker, James shares with us what triggered him to devote so much of his time giving back. Follow him on Instagram @igotnostrings to see all his adventures and to stay updated for his upcoming documentary “Time Well Spent”!

Hometown: Atascadero, California

Instagram: @igotnostrings

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My life has been a journey that is for sure… Traveling and learning how other people live, as well as looking at my life and who I am. When I was 12 years old I survived a rare life-threatening blood disease that transformed the whole way I looked at the world. It was a complete miracle I survived. I was given a second chance; after that I knew my life would be different and I couldn't live the same way. I wanted to help people and make a true difference in this world. Surfing and helping others have always been my biggest passions. I surfed competitively for quite sometime, and still do, but that is not my main focus in life anymore. I realized, as I traveled to all these places to surf, that the communities I visited were in way worse living circumstances than mine, and all I did was surf and leave. After a while I realized there must be more to traveling than getting what I wanted and leaving. So now when we travel, I try to give back to others what God has blessed me with and help them to see the great worth they have. One project we have devoted the past couple years to is called "Time Well Spent Documentary" that explores the question, "Does your past define your future?" - something I am really stoked to share with you all soon!




What is your favorite place to visit?
I love Peru and Chile, but if there is a place that stuck with me the most, it is Micronesia. There is something about sailing to islands and experiencing different cultures that are so isolated from the rest of the world.

Share a memorable time when you gave:
Just recently, on our trip for the documentary, we were able to build a house for a family in need in Panama. One of the boys we took on the trip had been homeless for most of his life, couch hopping and sleeping in the car with his family. He had never been able to give back to someone like this, and so it was truly incredible to see how it changed him. He was able to hand over the keys to this family’s new house and it was a super special moment for him and for all of us. I was definitely crying like a little baby in the corner. Ha.

One random fact about yourself:
Random... hmmm... When I get nervous and I don't know what to talk about in a conversation I will most likely talk about pooping. Yes, it does make everything a lot more uncomfortable.