REFEET: Repurposed and Reimagined

REFEET has an ability to help students and young adults shop more sustainable while mitigating waste consumptions of shoes.

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Please confirm you meet the following criteria

  • We have submitted the supplemental form linked in the description above
  • We are aged between 14 - 20 as of February 11, 2021
  • We live in the United States or its territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa)
  • We are not employed by, or directly related (parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • We have been working on this project for at least three months
  • We consent to Ashoka and/or GM featuring our work on their website, social media, and in other materials regarding this Challenge using the information in our application
  • We confirm we have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Website or social media url(s) (optional):


Date You Started Your Project

July 27th, 2020

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In the current global capacity, the fashion industry has contributed to over 10% of the world's carbon emissions. One of those categories include shoe production. The shoe industries "fast fashion" contributes to a large capacity of shoes being thrown out into waste plants. Finding a way to mitigate shoe waste can help our environment and lessening the amount of carbon being emitted.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Here at REFEET want to indulge in finding reasonable ways to refurbish and customize shoes for our customers. We want to teach them that those shoes that you believe to be old and worn out can actually be made anew, Through our refurbishing and customization services we also would like to incorporate different two different programs for secondary and college students. Teaching them about how they can make an impact in the community by donating to our REFEET D.U.M.P program that would run throughout the school year and summer months. Not only that but also introducing to students to different environmental impacts they can be apart of in their community through our REFEET OUTREACH program.

3. Please tell us how you are using science, technology, engineering or math to address your environmental challenge.

By using science to measure and research we have been able to show the impact of how our "footwear-carbon-footprint" is one of the leading impacts of carbon emission from both consumers and producers. With emissions almost nearing 10% according to Business Insider. We also look at he causes of how the disposal of shoes regarded as old/worn out can be degrading to our soils and contaminate our waters. With shoes in landfills beginning to decompose many of its chemical leading to harmful effects to humans and wildlife if not managed properly. Being able to educate and teach others about such environmental factors shoes can have we hope to bring a fresh approach on how to deal with the problem.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

REFEET initially started as a customary refurbishing and customizing shoe business. However as our business has developed and grown we started asking questions as to how "what can we do that other businesses like us aren't doing"? And then it *clicked*! We wanted to make our services affordable, sustainable, and have a long lasting environmental impact. Yet our whole team can look at the fact that as teenagers, we first started the business because we have had certain situations where friends because we've had certain situations where friends have been bullied and shamed of the shoes that they were wearing. From that point forward the marketable strategy has developed to ensuring that we are not just aiding different youngsters and young adults getting great shoes at a reasonable cost, but also additionally having a social and environmental impact.

5. Video (Keep it simple, your phone on selfie-mode is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

We have participated in: - Rollins Upward Bound Rally's Summer Program - Rollins Impact Incubator (Fall)

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Many of our competitors don't focus on having a social or environmental impact, and they also mainly focus on high esteemed customers. We want to cater to our fellow secondary and college students. We also don't want to just focus on refurbishing and customization. We want to involve our customers and offer social outreach programs to students, allowing for more shoes to be recycled and in turn be refurbished and affordable.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made.

The past three months have offered us countless opportunities to reach out to young adults and students that have had it hard the last few months. We have been working with them to learn more about what they would like to see from us and how we can improve our relations. We have currently been able to reach almost 100 students from New York, New Jersey, and our home here in Orlando. We are currently in discussions with high schools to incorporate our REFEET OUTREACH & REFEET D.U.M.P programs for the 2021-2022 school. This could potentially lead to us giving our message to 2000 students per school.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We are going to be launching our REFEET C.A.R.E (Customization And Refurbishing Enlist) on February 6th. We are also hoping to start conversations with Rollins Social Impact Hub on partnering with them to be our main partner for our Social and Environmental Outreach programs at their school. Currently we have partnered up with a small business that customizes different arrays of shoes, crocs, etc. We are planning to incorporate them into our REFEET C.A.R.E Service by February 21st,

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

In the summer of 2020 when the idea came into fruition we were in dialogue with several of our fellow classmates at Rollins Upward Bound about how they can make an impact. They were so engaged that many of them insisted on wanting to learn more about how they can make an impact for the environment. We of course don't know if they continued on that task, but it was encouraging to see other young people being engaged about the impact we have on our environment and how we can better it.

11. How would you partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

We have heard great words of our fellow changemakers and we hope to learn more about them in the near future. We would want to partner with our fellow changemakers so that we are able to teach others about how their passion for social or environmental impact can be be made a reality.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

In the lessons we've learned in the past we have always been told that for anyone to be engaged in your idea you have to put it out there first. We are always looking for people who are curious about how our business will help out the environment. We have different ideas set in stone on how we want to engage with those that have never heard about our project through social media, videos, and newsletters about how the business is moving along.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

14. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you? You’ll be able to select only one option.

  • Accounting & Finance

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Email

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or General Motors, who was it?

Rollins Social Impact Hub Isaiah Parra

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Justin Anderson

Never thought shoes could be refurbished, this is exciting! Good luck growing this project!

Photo of official. espoire

We have a long way to go. But we are hoping to have a very eventful year! Thanks for the support!

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