Guest Editorial: #NeverShutUp

By Gilbert Guru

#NeverShutUp inspired a 10-year-old, Gavin Henss to start Giving Sole, a Phoenix-based non-profit that gives brand name, brand new shoes to kids in the foster care system.

At a Suns vs. Cavs game, Gavin created a sign that said, “King James 23 You are More than an Athlete #NeverShutUp.” The poster got the attention of Lebron James, and the internet – propelling a viral post and Lebron’s shooting sleeve as a gift. Gavin had heard in the media that athletes should up and dribble and he made the sign to show that we all have a voice – regardless of who we are.

Gavin had the idea to start the non-profit after this demonstration of fate. Gavin and his parents fostered a young girl for almost a year and ever since she left their family, Gavin had been trying to figure out to help foster kids everywhere. He had originally thought he needed to wait until he was an adult to help, but after Lebron showed that he too had a voice the idea for Giving Sole came to him. Gavin wanted to show the world that you can achieve what you do not think you can and for Gavin, an achievement is giving to others in need.

Giving Sole’s mission is to remind foster children that they are more than their circumstances and that their voices matter. The shoes are a reminder of their inherent worth – this is why Giving Sole only gives brand name, brand new shoes; no hand-me-downs ever.

Every pair of shoes comes in a Giving Sole reusable bag that says “You Are More Than” with the purpose to be used as a bag for the kids’ belongings as they move from home to home. As the Chief Inspirational Officer, Gavin handwrites a note for each and every pair of shoes given with sayings such as “I can’t wait to see what you’ll grow up to be,” and “you are so much more than your circumstances.”

The mission is much more than shoes, it is to remind children that they are special, and have a voice that is unique, important, and matters. “When you’re a kid walking into school with a brand-new pair of Nike or Adidas shoes is a big deal,” said Gavin’s dad, Shawn Henss. “We want to give these kids not just what they need, but what they deserve.”

Giving Sole partners with Foster Agencies and needs community support to continue their mission. To donate to Giving Sole visit

Click here to watch Gavin’s story.