Get Familiar: KICKS4KIDS
The Patta Foundation is dedicated to bringing about meaningful social change by combining community and social efforts aimed at minority, vulnerable, and young audiences. We strive for greater social inclusion, equality, and diversity by being active in environments where marginalization and social discrimination are evident. On this year’s Global Giving Day we’re dedicated to helping out our friend Yino Diaz, founder of Niños del Futuro on the project KICKS4KIDS.
After growing up in the Netherlands, Yino returned to his Colombian roots, determined to make a difference through his foundation Niños del Futuro. This a charitable organisation that promotes local community development, sports, and education. Children in these areas lack vital personal needs, which limits their opportunities for a healthy lifestyle and upbringing. Yino's most recent project set up with his team member Stefanny Pardo seeks to provide appropriate footwear for young children in Medellin's most vulnerable neighbourhoods. No matter how normalized it might seem, access to shoes is not a given for everyone. As an authentic apparel brand, we believe that more awareness for this cause should be raised. Not only because shoes symbolize our brand's name, Patta, but also because they represent what we stand for.
What is Niños del Futuro all about?
Niños Del Futuro (Children of The Future), is a non-profit organization that is created to provide stability through basic resources such as shelter, food, clothing, sports, and education in Colombian poverty-stricken neighbourhoods. We believe in the next generation and we help them to grow creatively and positively. In our community centre, we provide a safe environment where the youth can participate in our project or just hang out and have a chat with us.
How have your roots shaped your personality - what traits did you pick up from having Dutch and Colombian lived experiences?
Growing up in Holland, I have experienced a lot of interesting lessons about different cultures, religions, norms and values. I think in Holland we have a strong street culture which expresses itself in music and art, which was always a big part of my life. When moving to one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of Medellin I found the friendly and humble lifestyle of the people around me. The history of these neighbourhoods full of violence and political wars makes the people live more in the moment and it seems they enjoy life more than the people in Europe where the social pressure is so high that people lose themselves.
What does the KICKS4KIDS initiative work on?
KICKS4KIDS is a project that seeks to dignify children and young people belonging to vulnerable populations in Colombia through footwear, providing them with shoes that allow them a correct physical development, and protect them from inclement weather (cold, humidity, rain and mud). In this way, we can reinforce their self-esteem and confidence processes, and at the same time that we encourage the development of their talents and motor skills so that they perform and venture into sports and other complementary activities.
How do the kids react when you approach them with shoes?
Priceless! The sparkle in the eyes of these young people makes us speechless. Many of the children who benefit from this project have never had a pair of tennis shoes in their lives. The importance of knowing that they are not invisible, that they are loved and considered by each person who supports this project provides them with motivation and encouragement to continue and determination to improve their lives. With each delivery of shoes, we are bringing hope to populations that have been vulnerable and forgotten within the Colombian socio-economic conflict. Our greatest motivation is to show empathy and give the attention they deserve.
Who do you work on this project with?
KICKS4KIDS was born as an initiative by Yino Diaz and Stefanny Pardo in December 2021. With our savings, we wanted to give some gifts for Christmas to the children, and we thought that sneakers were the best option after seeing a lot of kids without solid shoes. All this work is supported by Lukas Castrillon, Stefanny's son, who is in charge of the logistics. We are proud to have Lukas on our team who is only 16 years old and in this way can experience the lifestyle of serving people and making an impact. Dylan Sydow is our photographer who makes the incredible content of our journey and graffiti artist ¨WESO¨ who joins us to do an art workshop with the kids. We are an incredible team that puts its skills and talents in service to the community, we have been blessed with people who join our work, those who donate and those who share their incredible human talents such as arts, music and photography.
How did Patta get involved in the project?
Patta for me always was a brand that represented a lot of our street culture in Holland. Since way back, I travelled 2 hours to Amsterdam to get myself a Patta shoe. One day I decided to send a message with a video of our project to Tim from the Patta foundation and that´s where it all started. We did a call, not a lot of words just a lot of energy and from there we started this connection.
What are some milestones that you have already reached?
Since the beginning of our work in December 2021 we have delivered 945 pairs of shoes to the city of Medellín, and the department of Chocó. Choco is one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of Colombia. When we were able to reach indigenous communities in really dangerous areas, we were the first persons from ¨outside¨ reaching out to them.
The change we have caused in the lives of these children and young people who have benefited from this project is what determines its importance. Some kids now can participate in a school program just only by having shoes, which they didn't have before. Our goal is the impact we have on the lives of all those kids.
How do you hope this initiative grows over time?
We believe that each person in the world is called to serve others, we believe in the goodness of the human heart, and we believe that all this is what leads us to build a better community and a better world.
We love to give other people also the opportunity to join our team and be part of this movement and in this way reach out to more kids.
How does someone start a project like this in their community?
It first starts with an idea. Then is just a way of doing it. Not to talk too much, just go out and make it happen. We first identify the primary needs of the community. Then we go out in the field and make contact with the community. We work with a lot of empathy and respect so people will feel good energy and they will collaborate without any problems.
How can the everyday person address wage disparity in their environments?
Be kind, not expecting something back of it, but just to help someone who needs it. It doesn't have to be a financial thing, sometimes just asking someone how he is doing or providing some help can make a lot of impact on someone.
The goal is to increase children's access to quality footwear that will improve their physical and personal well-being. Because of their fragility and vulnerability, young children and growing feet are given special attention in this project. Yino and his team go door to door in Medellin's most vulnerable neighbourhoods, recording the children's ages, shoe sizes, and life circumstances. The KICKS4KIDS initiative ensures that children leave with a shoe that fits and they can call their own. This will boost the kids' confidence and ability to perform physically.
Previous editions have been shown to benefit children as young as five years old. Still, we need your help for this year's edition! Niños del Futuro hopes to make a positive difference in local communities by donating 500 sneakers to encourage a strong sense of support and community spirit. Through your donations, we can help build a thriving generation that feels confident in their shoes and skin.