5 Reasons Why You Should Donate Your Old Shoes: Save Lives With Safe Water

Think about all the shoes you probably own. How many of them do you actually wear? If you’ve been waiting for a reason to get rid of some of your old shoes, this is it.

Don’t just trash them. Donate them!

For the fourth consecutive year, The Iona Group and Float, in partnership with St. Ann’s WATCH program, are co-sponsoring a shoe drive from August 1-31 throughout central Illinois. Drop-off locations are primarily located in Morton or Peoria, but check to see if any of the more than 75 locations are located near you.

The drive will benefit WaterStep, a nonprofit based out of Louisville, Ky., that helps save lives with safe water. Believe it or not, more than 1 out of every 10 people on this earth lack access to safe water. That’s nearly 750 million people, according to a 2014 study released by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. WaterStep is trying to spread safe water through one person, one family, and one community at a time.

Since 2012, we have donated nearly 50,000 pairs of shoes to WaterStep with your help. This year, our goal is to collect and haul away 30,000 pairs of shoes.

This shoe drives benefits every single person  involved. Here are five reasons why donating your shoes makes a difference.

1. Get rid of your clunkers.

Free up space in your home by getting rid of that old  pair of shoes you’ve had for far too long. No matter what condition your shoes are in, you can donate them. And if you lost a shoe? It doesn’t matter. Feel free to donate that sole shoe, too (get it?). Shoes are just a starting point. You can also donate sandals, boots, heels, and anything else you put on your feet to ride your bike, mow your lawn, complement your working clothes, and more.

2. Go shopping for new shoes.

Use this shoe drive as an excuse to treat yourself. Once you get rid of your old pair of shoes, you’ll likely want to replace them with a new pair, right? Take advantage of that coupon that just came through your mailbox or your inbox and get yourself some fresh kicks.

3. Help provide funding for safe water equipment and training.

“So,” you might be asking yourself, “how does donating shoes actually help to solve the planet’s water problems?”

When you donate your shoes to one of these drop-off locations, WaterStep then sells them to an exporter. WaterStep uses that money to develop projects that include water filters and water transportation or chlorination systems, repair wells, and to educate communities about the benefits of safe water.

4. Support local businesses.

When the exporter buys shoes from WaterStep, those shoes then turned around and sold to merchants from all over the world. The merchants then take shoes back to their own regions and sell them to support both their local economies and their families. WaterStep has shared with the team how some merchants make monthly visits to the exporter, buying enough shoes to take back and sell at home before starting their process over again.

5. Prevent abrasions and health hazards.

As you might imagine, many regions of the world are not as developed as the United States. Feet can be damaged in many ways – from traversing rugged terrain to debris strewn about the land to stepping on a bee – and the resulting wounds could get infected. A scratch similar to what our children may encounter on the playground could cause serious injury or even death to those in less fortunate places because they didn’t have the proper footwear. By selling these shoes in their homeland, merchants help prevent these types of injuries from happening.

You can make a difference. All you need to do is donate your old shoes.

Visit one of these drop-off locations in central Illinois and help bring safe water to someone who needs it, or donate to WaterStep today.


Upcoming Float Symposium

Iona’s sister company, Float Mobile Learning, will hold its second annual one-day symposium on mobile learning this summer in Chicago.

As you may know, Float developed from The Iona Group in 2010. Iona has been in business since 1984, and one of its core practices throughout that period has been eLearning. Though similar, mobile learning is not just eLearning ported directly to a mobile device. Recognizing this difference, Iona branched out in 2010 to start a new venture called Float. Float, under the guidance of managing director Chad Udell, has worked with Fortune 500 companies and industry-leading companies such as Caterpillar, Pioneer Hi-Bred and Wiley Publishing.

This year’s Float Mobile Learning Symposium will take place at the brand-new startup incubator 1871 inside the Merchandise Mart on Monday, June 25, in conjunction with Techweek, an event attended by thousands of people interested in technology. The Symposium will feature experts from outside organizations such as Groupon’s Shay Howe, mobile experience author Steven Hoober, and Aaron Silvers, the chief learning officer of Problem Solutions. Our speakers have expertise in mobile design, development, and strategy work.

The intent of this Symposium is to bring current and future thinking regarding mobile learning to organizations. Float wants to continue to spark interest in how best to get your organization to think about mobile learning. The Symposium lasts a full day, half of the day focused on business and strategy with the other half focused on design and development.

The price for the Float Mobile Learning Symposium 2012 is just $79 through Friday, May 4. After May 4, the price increases to only $99. The registration fee covers entry into the event, as well as a continental breakfast and lunch.

Click here to view more information about this year’s Float Mobile Learning Symposium.

Float Releases New Apps

Rabble Browser

Our sister company, Float Mobile Learning, recently released a new iPad app.  Float works with many clients who are actively using iPads as a training platform.  Their new app, Rabble Browser, adds new functionality that many trainers will be quick to adopt.

Rabble Browser is a curated browsing tool to help with mobile Learning in a collaborative setting. RabbleBrowser allows a leader or facilitator to lead a group browsing experience. This browser is the perfect tool for a classroom, boardroom or any meeting room. No more IM’ing URLs, emailing and hoping they go through quickly and not get caught in a spam filter, or hollering out “http://…” across a crowded room, just easy collaborative group browsing.

Using RabbleBrowser, one person can lead or facilitate a shared browsing experience with an unlimited number of locally connected peers. As the leader browses the web, the others in the session with them will see the path they are taking. Integrated group chat, private chat and bookmark sharing keeps the collaboration levels high. Using the easy integrated social tools, anyone in the session can share URLs to the web via email, Twitter and Facebook. We’re confident that this will become a very useful technology in any class, team leader or mobile learning presenter’s toolkit. The initial release is feature rich, but we have a lot planned for this app in the future.

Key features include:
•  Shared browsing between a leader and a virtually unlimited number of connected clients via WiFi on a  common network.
•  Integrated multiuser chat and private chat
•  Saving and editing of bookmarks
•  Social sharing tools via Facebook and Twitter
•  Easily send URLs from Rabble Browser via Mail
•  Printing of web content via AirPrint

Rabble Browser can be purchased at the ITunes store for $4.99.


If you’re new to mobile learning and trying to get a grip on all the terms and concepts, try out the Primer.  This free app is a great reference tool that can help you master the jargon that goes with mobile learning.  There is one available for Apple products or Android platforms.

The Primer (Download for your iPad/iPod/iPhone)

Android Primer (Download if you have a Droid)

A New Kind of Demo Reel

Developing a good presentation can be challenging. We thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if we could combine both the informative power of video as well as the engaging power of a live presentation?” Well, we did it using three Apple iPads and their bluetooth capabilities. The iPad provides a uniquely personal (and somewhat sexy) presentation platform using Bluetooth to synchronize the three devices and broadcast the sound to an external speaker. Each device has a video which makes up a third of an originally very large After Effects composition. Add a little choreography and voilà: a new kind of “demo reel.” Check it out:

See what others are saying about our iPad demo:

Iona’s Steve McNair serves in Africa

From June 8th to the 24th Steve McNair, founding partner of the Iona Group, and a group from his church went on a missions trip to Mombasa, Kenya.  The purpose of the trip was to set up a computer lab in a local Bible school where they did some teaching.  They also assisted in the construction of a home and church in a nearby rural village to encourage the church members.  They hosted a Bible school for elementary school children and also had the opportunity to speak at a rural government school where the student teacher ratio was one teacher to every 70+ students.  The team spent time at a rural church whose focus is ministering to HIV/AIDS orphans.  This is a very serious problem in Africa.  The group brought solar powered flashlights as gifts for many who they met.  Consistent electricity is still an issue in many of the rural areas along the coast. This was the second year in a row a group went to serve this area of Africa and it was a great success.

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