What does it mean to receive a new pair of shoes? For many of us shoes are an abundant resource that is sometimes taken for granted, however, for millions of children and adults across the globe shoes are scarce. In many developing nations walking is the primary mode of transportation, so a pair of shoes keeps people happy, healthy and thriving.
Last summer, my husband NY Giants Defensive Back, Coty Sensabaugh, and I embarked on our first ever #SensabaughMissionMoon, a partnership with the nonprofit organization Soles4Souls which is committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. Instead of taking a traditional honeymoon, we decided to travel with family and friends to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to serve children and adults in need by giving away new shoes, hence the title #SensabaughMissionMoon.
It took us over a year of diligent planning to make this endeavor successful and leading up to the actual #MissionMoon we partnered with our church Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, TN to organize a shoe drive which collected close to 17,000 pairs of gently used shoes.
During our 5 day stint in the DR, our 11 man team consisting of our parents and close friends and family, distributed 542 pairs of shoes to children and adults across 2 schools, 1 church community and a boys & girls club in communities across Puerto Plata. Our team's love and laughter was infectious and the opportunity and dignity that they gave through a pair of shoes will make waves in those children's lives. Knowing some of their conditions - no running water, sold into prostitution at age 12, unable to go to school because they had no shoes.
Giving away shoes and participating in this life changing event brought my husband and I closer in so many ways. Relive some of our amazing moments during our adventure!
Top 10 moments from our #SensabaughMissionMoon
1. The children's faces once they received their new shoes.
2. Watching my husband interact with the children.
3. Washing the children's feet prior to giving them new shoes.
4. Watching my husband play basketball with the children.
5. Playing games with the beautiful Dominican Children after our shoe distributions.
6. Watching our family and friends interact with the children
Not only were our parents able to attend this trip, our close friends and family members. During one of our distributions, we ran out of the larger sizes for the older children. After the distribution was over, my mother pulled aside the child that was unable to receive a pair of shoes because we did not have his size, and gave him the shoes off of her feet.
7. Watching our Mission Trip participants work in sync together during our shoe distributions.
8. Doing Yoga and Zumba with the Children
9. Working with a phenomenal Trip Leader
Kristen Schwartz was an outstanding trip leader. She was attentive to every single detail during our stay and she made sure we were comfortable, well fed, and HAPPY during our entire mission trip experience.
10. Riding ATV's throughout the countryside with our Mission Moon participants
Participating in the #SensabaughMissionMoon with Soles4Souls changed my life. The pure joy that came from a simple act of giving away shoes to those in need was phenomenal. In that act of service, we created an intangible connection with the Dominican children we served. They are forever a part of our family and they have a very special place in our hearts. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity and we look forward to many more #SensabaughMissionMoons to come.
"The #SensabaughMissionMoon showed me that a laugh and a smile is an international language. By giving away shoes, I was able to instill hope. I have loved shoes my entire life, but I had no idea that providing someone in need with a pair of shoes could truly “change” a person's life."- Coty Sensabaugh
Dominique Sensabaugh is the wife to NY Giants Defensive Back, Coty Sensabaugh. As a native of Columbia, South Carolina, she is a proud graduate of Clemson University and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. This Philanthropist and Social Entrepreneur is the Founder and Creative Director of Refined Precision Consultants, where she specializes in public relations, planning and facilitating corporate charity events, philanthropic endeavors, fundraising campaigns and social media marketing. She is a certified yoga instructor and fitness enthusiast who loves a great outdoor workout. Dominique's mission in life is to do God’s work and inspire her peers to positively impact the world.