ST. GEORGE – Log onto any social media site these days and you are sure to find a plethora of homemade videos designed to catch your attention, entertain and possibly get shared across the Web. Popular among the catchy videos are lip syncs – with “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon capitalizing on the action with his celebrity lip sync battles – and charity challenges.
Hoping to combine the two and ride the wave of Internet success, locals Tyler Truman and Sara Nisson have joined the trend with their new lip sync video and accompanying challenge. But these two are after more than just your laughter; they want your “soles.”
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Sara Nisson and Tyler Truman lip sync to “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” as part of a charity challenge for Shoes for Peru, St. George, Utah, Sept. 2014 | Video courtesy of Tyler Truman, St. George News
The duo’s video has gone certifiably viral, garnering more than 1,800 Facebook shares so far, Truman said. The video features Truman and Nisson lip-syncing in their car to the tune of Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.” The song is catchy, the couple is engaging and, most importantly, it is all for a good cause.
Now Truman and Nisson are asking the community at large to “bare your sole” by joining the lip-syncing fun and donating gently worn shoes to the recently created nonprofit community organization Shoes for Peru.
At the end of the lip sync video, Truman and Nisson challenged five people to create their own lip sync, donate their shoes and then pay the challenge forward.
“It works sort of like the ALS ice bucket challenge,” Truman said, “only we don’t want you to donate money; we want you to donate shoes.”
The idea for the nonprofit organization stemmed from a conversation Truman had with a woman about the native Uros people who live on floating islands in Lake Titicaca, Peru, he said. The islanders there have very little in the way of physical possessions and amenities, with shoes being one of their primary needs, Truman said.
“As I contacted the people, I asked them what their biggest need was,” Truman said, “and as we started to get pictures back from them they were all barefoot.”
While both Truman and Nisson recognize that shoes are not the natives’ only need, they decided to focus on this one aspect in the beginning, Nisson said.
“As the organization takes off,” Nisson said, “then Shoes for Peru will be about more than just shoes.”
And the organization has taken off – faster than they had expected, Nisson said.
Lennon Jones created the website and Facebook page for Shoes for Peru. She said she can’t believe the response the group has been getting. (See ed. note)
“I built the website and a couple days later I did the Facebook page,” Jones said. “I invited people and it just blew up. My phone and my email kept getting notification after notification.”
Jones said messages keep coming in from people wanting to be involved and help.
That desire to help is something Truman attributes to the power of the volunteer, he said.
“There is no power in this world stronger than the volunteer,” Truman said. “It is amazing the messages we get from people, and it blows my mind what people are willing to give or that they are willing to drop what they are doing to tell us that this really touches them.”
Truman himself has been through the school of hard knocks, having had it all – good job, unbelievable living, he said – and then lost it. Truman said he understands what it feels like to have nothing, and seeing himself once again on an upward life track makes him determined to help others through his charitable organization.
“I told myself that I was never going to forget the way it was to not have things,” Truman said. “I have always wanted to have the opportunity to help people.”
Shoes for Peru is just getting started, but organizers hope the giving never stops as they look forward to fulfilling other needs and moving toward benefiting additional countries in the future, Truman said.
Ed. note: Correction made in identification of Lennon Jones.
- To learn more about Shoes for Peru, visit the organization’s website or “like” them on Facebook
- Shoes can be sent to or dropped off at 2050 Twin Circle, St. George, Utah 84790 or Christensen’s Department store, located at 762 S. Bluff Street in St. George. Bring donations to the gift wrap area of the store.
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