The powerful, personal story of Jim Ziolkowski, the man behind the organization buildOn—which turns inner city teens into community leaders at home and abroad—and his inspiring mission to change the world one community at a time.
Jim Ziolkowski gave up his career in corporate finance to create buildOn, a service-oriented program that goes into high-risk areas around the world to work with students in their communities. Under Jim’s leadership, buildOn volunteers have contributed more than 850,000 hours of community service, and the organization has constructed more than 430 schools worldwide, from the South Bronx, to Detroit, Chicago, and Oakland, to Haiti, Senegal, Nicaragua, and Nepal.
Walk in Their Shoes is packed with the ingredients of a powerful bestseller as it traces Jim’s story from his transformation from a thrill-seeking twenty-something backpacker, to a Harlem-based idealist trying to launch a not-for-profit organization, and finally to the head of buildOn.
Ziolkowski compellingly chronicles his exciting story of worldwide travel and adventure, creating a moving portrait of the power of faith, teamwork, and the boundless potential of the human spirit. Blessed with relentless optimism and an unshakable faith, both of which have fortified his commitment to the poor and the underprivileged, Jim Ziolkowski’s inspirational memoir reveals that helping and empathizing with others can help—and heal—ourselves.
About the Author
Jim Ziolkowski started the nonprofit organization buildOn to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in nations throughout the world. He lives in Stamford, Connecticut.
James S. Hirsch, a former reporter for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, is the author of Cheating Destiny, the bestseller Hurricane: The Miracle Journey of Rubin Carter, Riot and Remembrance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy, and Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam. He is also a principal of Close Concerns, a consultancy and publishing company that specializes in diabetes. He lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sheryl, and their children, Amanda and Garrett.
“The answer is yes. Yes, one person can change the world. This book will challenge you and inspire you and push you to understand that you can (and should) make a difference.”
“Ziolkowski balances sobering facts with an approachable writing style. His unflinching determination drove him to establish over 500 schools . . . He believed that one person could indeed change the world, and his story may inspire others to do the same.”
“Jim Ziolkowski’s rare commitment to children living in poverty in the US and abroad is an inspiration to me. Walk in Their Shoes tells his moving and unique story with heart, humility and even a touch of humor. Perhaps more importantly, Jim’s tenacity in the face of many hardships and doubts offers an illuminating example of the human capacity to transform faith into action.”
“Walk in Their Shoes is an inspiring tribute to the power of compassion and education: the keys to leading a meaningful life.”
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“Ziolkowski’s life and work give testimony that service is the hallway that leads to the ballroom of kinship and exquisite mutuality. This is a heartfelt and brave account of gulfs being bridged, distances erased, and offers the hope that the illusion that we are separate can be obliterated. Both buildOn and its founder have helped us inch closer to dismantling the barriers that exclude.”