( ENSPIRE Feature ) Local Teen Uses Proceeds From Own Business To Help the Homeless
ENSPIRE Contributor: Keegan Kerns
At only the age of 16, Julien Gasca is making a difference in his community as he customizes and donates shoes to the homeless community in Jacksonville. Julien used his talents to start his own sneaker customizing business when he was only 15, and from there, he has used the profits to purchase extra shoes that he adorns with inspiring Bible verses. He hopes that his shoes have a material benefit to those who receive them and a spiritual and emotional one, where they can know that despite the difficulties they may face, God is with them and loves them.
Julien’s efforts are also important as they help continue raising awareness about homelessness in his community and across the nation, showing how essential it is for each of us to step out and do our part to help our communities. He also provides an excellent example for the rest of us in that we can see that even a young man like Julien can make a difference in his community. He shows us that anyone can have the strength and time to give back to their community, and we can look to him as an example when we too work to help each other.
ENSPIRE asked Julien Gasca a few questions about his inspiration for his work and his aspirations in the future.
What inspired you to create your own sneaker customizing business at such a young age, and what motivated you to use that to create a positive impact in your community?
My inspiration came from my love of collecting shoes and drawing. I have been collecting shoes since I was 10 yrs old and drawing when I was in middle school. So by combining both my passion and talent, that’s where I started my business, BUT even though collecting shoes was very fun, I also knew that others were not as fortunate as I was. So that’s where I decided to do shoes for those less fortunate, so they can feel the same way I felt when I got a new pair of shoes.
You’ve obviously taken on a lot of responsibility in creating your business and charitable efforts, so how do you find the time to balance that with your normal responsibilities as a teenager?
If you are passionate about what you love, you will ALWAYS find the time to perfect your skill and think of more ways to improve your talent. There’s always time; you just have to find it!
For those of us at any age, how would you recommend balancing our normal work or school lives with attempts to positively impact our communities similar to your shoes for the homeless?
Even though I have my own business, school always comes first. As I mentioned before, if you’re passionate about something, you’ll find the time. Luckily I have the support of my family, who have been there since day one. If I can go to school full time, run a business, participate in sports, and still have time to help those less fortunate, anyone can. It’s just a matter of having that passion for making a difference for those to follow.
How do you hope to inspire others with your actions?
I want to bring light into giving back to those less fortunate by being the example, showing them that one person CAN make a difference. We are the future of the world, and imagine how different this world would be if everyone would show compassion and kindness to those around you, especially the less fortunate, who often don’t have a voice.
Do you have any particular goals going forward to help expand your business and charitable efforts?
I plan on one day having my own charity, and I want my business and cause to be seen and heard worldwide. We can make a difference, even if it’s one shoe at a time.
Julien Gasca’s efforts to form his own business by 15 and use the profits from that business to help customize and supply shoes for the homeless are incredibly admirable. As of now, his goal is to continue to have his business grow, and alongside it, so can his charitable efforts grow to help those who need it the most. This dedication to his own community and a desire to help all people worldwide is an attitude we should all aspire to have, and we should look towards figures like Julien Gasca as role models when we attempt to create positive change in our own communities.
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