Embrace the Hustle | Interview with Michael Lin

Have you ever struggled with the delicate balance between wanting to create positive change and make the world more epic, but then you reme...

Have you ever struggled with the delicate balance between wanting to create positive change and make the world more epic, but then you remember that you know, have to go to school and prepare for a future career and take care of yourself and just maybe, breathe? Because same.

So, over the next few months, I will be getting to know and interviewing young world-changers who have found that balance.

I had the opportunity to interview Michael Lin, the young Executive Director of Step on Poverty. Step on Poverty enables students to make a difference through several initiatives: consulting, environmental, and a shoe initiative. They collect gently used shoes and then sell them to entrepreneurs in developing countries to encourage economic growth.

I hope you enjoy Step on Poverty's awesome story and that it inspires you to believe you can make a difference and live life well!
Copyright The Teentrepreneur

Sophia: The last time I spoke with you and your team, you had collected just over 4500 pairs of shoes. Now you're at nearly 9500 pairs. What has caused this growth, and how do you continue to grow in the future?
Michael: I think the growth really depended on many factors. We were able to recruit new members who were extremely dedicated to Step On Poverty from the get-go. As we continued with our door-to-door flyering and saw the gradual increase in shoe count, we realized just how close we were to achieving our goal–eventually inspiring us to surpass our original goalpost. 

S: You've obviously gotten help with collecting the shoes and packing them up. How have you gotten other people involved and excited about what you are doing?

M: We focused on growing our social media presence and really utilizing the ability of all our members. I was able to present to Troy City Council about Step On Poverty, and they were gracious enough to offer a spot for a shoe donation box. 

Also, I do think that the personal touch of the way we have conducted our flyering and shoe pick-up contributes to a welcoming atmosphere. Occasionally, we get messages taped to shoe donations expressing thanks or hope that young people are involved in the affairs of the local and international community.

S: You mentioned that you are sending these shoes to developing nations, such as Haiti. How did you organize that?
M: We have partnered with a social enterprise called Funds2Orgs because they align with our mission principles. They will be transporting the shoes to countries like Haiti and Honduras within the next 60 days. For many years, Funds2Orgs have provided shoes to local vendors in these developing nations.
S: With your great success with the shoe initiative, what do your future plans look like for growth?
M: With the conclusion of our shoe initiative, we hope to progress our Business Consulting Initiative and Environmental Initiative. Through these initiatives, we have been able to acquire/manage eight clients and their websites and to donate recycling bins to our public high schools. We are looking to open a Medical Initia
tive and/or Educational Initiative, but the framework and plans for both have yet to be laid out.

S:You and your team members are still in school. As a college student myself, I find I often don't have time to even work on my blog- how do you find the time to run Step on Poverty??
M: We find the time by always keeping our phone by our side and paying attention to any notifications the group chats will bring up. Another helpful tip is to schedule meetings ahead of time and make plans with board members. That way, we are all held accountable.

Time is certainly difficult to manage. Fortunately, we have an extremely dedicated and passionate board that is composed of dependable people. As this organization is unlike any others that I am involved in, every step is a learning experience. 


Thank you so much, Michael!

You can find out more about Michael on Step on Poverty's website if you have more questions! Feel free to visit Step on Poverty on Facebook as well.

Let me know your thoughts: what are ways that you make the world better? How do you find the time to do that?
Keep being epic,

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