Whenever I explain Fabulous Shoe Night to someone who is unfamiliar with the concept, there are always a few things I try to emphasize. No, we do not sell shoes. Nope, we're not a charity, either, but rather a social and networking group, a vehicle to help charities. I try to stress that we gather together in fun, wearing the shoes we love, right from our own closets, with the purpose of raising money and awareness for local charities, right in our own backyards.
It’s all about giving. Together.
The idea for Fabulous Shoe Night first came to me when I was at a serious crossroads in my life. I used to be a nurse, but stopped working after I had my first son. Now that my three boys were getting older and in school all day, I needed something to do. Returning to nursing after a 15 year absence would mean literally starting all over again … hardly practical. Yet not working was clearly not working for me. I was bored, unfulfilled and unhappy … the kind of unhappiness that results when you know you're just not living up to your full potential. Not even close.
Then … I lost two dear friends to cancer. When cancer, and death, strike so very close to home, you can’t help but ask yourself some very existential questions … namely, why am I here? Life is truly a gift, and my friend’s lives were tragically shortened. It made me wonder … What was I doing with my life?? How was I using my gift?
It got to the point where I would lie in bed at night, wide awake long after everyone else had fallen asleep … and cry. I was able-bodied and intelligent, but what was I really doing with my life? Sure, raising my three boys was important, but I was looking for meaning and purpose that motherhood just didn’t fulfill … at least not for me.
It was during these tear-filled nights that I began to pray. Not the bedtime prayers of my childhood , but more like talking … which eventually turned into pleading. "Use me," I'd whisper. "Tell me what it is you want me to do. Show me." It became the mantra I'd repeat, over and over, until I finally fell asleep.
Many months passed before I finally got what I feel was my answer. Sometimes I think God, or the Universe, (or whatever name you use for that higher power), waits to see the consistency of our prayers, perhaps to gauge our sincerity and intent.
Fabulous Shoe Night is indeed a gift … in my own life, and the lives of many others. We are raising thousands of dollars for local, smaller, and sometimes struggling charities, as well as larger, national charities. We bring women together, making philanthropy accessible to everyone … because not everyone can write a $500 or $5000 check to the cause they love, yet together we are making a true difference.
Now I see that some gifts just keep giving, for within my own gift I have discovered that we are also bringing meaning and purpose to women just like me … those who want to give back, make a difference, and do something truly meaningful in their own lives.
Today, Fabulous Shoe Night is growing as we expand our locations near and far. You can participate by attending one of our events with your girlfriends, or by joining our team and becoming an Event Leader to hold your own events to raise money for the charities you love. But whatever your level of participation, it’s become clear that Fabulous Shoe Night is a movement, a force with a life all it’s own, a tribe of women doing good, and making a difference, wherever we are.
Welcome to our tribe.