Near the end of 2019, our parent company, Steel Partners, worked with Skechers to give employees across their businesses special edition walking shoes to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The shoes feature NASA’s Apollo 11 mission logo and Steel Partners’ Wellness Council worked on the design of the shoes with NASA Apollo 10 Commander Tom Stafford. The distribution of the shoes came as Steel Partners launched a “Walk to the Moon” campaign across all of its operating companies, including IWCO Direct, to promote healthy living.
IWCO Direct and our Steel Partners family had more than 400 extra pairs of shoes remaining after the wellness challenge. Urban Ventures in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the perfect “landing site” for the extras, given its focus on building a healthy community. For 25 years, Urban Ventures has worked to break the cycle of poverty in south Minneapolis by providing cradle-to-career support for youth and families in one of the city’s most under-resourced neighborhoods.
How Urban Ventures is Helping Kids Dream Bigger
The goal at Urban Ventures is to empower those in need to “dream bigger than they ever thought possible.” It is leading the charge with a goal of sending every child in its 25-block core neighborhood to college by 2040. Urban Ventures believes the single greatest mechanism for breaking the cycle of poverty in South Minneapolis is a college education and that transforming this neighborhood from the inside out with education will lead to success. It has committed to do “whatever it takes” to achieve its mission.
This is a bold goal, maybe even as bold as the dream of the United States to put an American on the moon. But, if the Apollo landing did anything, it taught us to pursue the impossible. The Apollo mission gave the world a new cultural metaphor. Prior to the feat, the phrase “it’s like landing on the moon” referred to something that couldn’t be done. After, it meant that, with enough effort, humanity could achieve anything. Clearly, Urban Ventures has adopted this spirit to the fullest extent possible.
We hope the shoe donation is just the start of a partnership with Urban Ventures, and we appreciate Steel Partners giving us this opportunity to impact the places where we work and live. We hope the link to the Apollo mission will inspire those receiving the shoes to meet Urban Ventures’ challenge to dream big. For more information on how you can help, please visit www.urbanventures.org.
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