Two Ten Footwear Foundation partnered with Footwear News and their FN Labs to celebrate our 80th anniversary with a series of opinion pieces written by footwear people from across the industry.
The Power of Education.
If anyone doesn’t understand that education can break the cycle of poverty, they haven’t met me.
I grew up poor and unable to afford college, but with a dream to become a footwear designer.
In 1989, Robert Greenberg blessed me with the opportunity to fulfill my dream. Every morning I sketched a shoe design and dropped it in his company’s suggestion box. One hundred eighty designs later, Robert Greenberg offered me an entry-level position as a shoe designer.
Since then, I’ve spent the last thirty years giving back the knowledge, wisdom and experiences I’ve received. In 2010, I opened the doors at PENSOLE. With the help of Two Ten and their scholarship program, we have been able to provide over thirty students the opportunity to attend PENSOLE; today over twenty of those students are working in the industry.
“The Two Ten scholarship allowed me to live out a dream of attending PENSOLE, which helped teach, challenge, prepare and refine me into the professional footwear designer I am today. It is something that I’m forever grateful for.” – Alexander Mayhew, Designer, Crocs
“Some adults that go through the academy are parents and at times it can be extremely difficult to budget expenses and make it happen. The fact that I received a scholarship helped me personally, and professionally. My daughter and I thank you, Two Ten.” – Cristian Mancilla, Designer, Adidas
“I am so grateful that I received Two Ten’s scholarship to participate in PENSOLE. It gave me the opportunity that I needed to empower myself and I appreciate you all for taking a chance on me. Had it not been for the support and belief of the quality people from both organizations, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” – Kim Liu, Designer, New Balance
A No. 2 pencil designed my life; shoes saved my life.
Thank you, Two Ten, for helping others design their lives.