When 19-year-old College Station resident Jason Wright was killed in a 2018 car wreck, his family was devastated.
But the young man's special love for collecting shoes has inspired a community effort that could make a difference in the lives of many College Station ISD students.
“Jason, if you knew him, was a lover of life," said Wendy Williams, Wright's mom and a local educator. "He had a great smile and a great sense of humor. He never met a stranger.”
On the day Wright died, the community lost not only a former football player for A&M Consolidated High School, but a friend and loving family member. As Wright’s family searched for ways to cope during the grieving process, his mom reflected on one special interest the teen had.
“One of the things he started to love very early on, from age ten, was shoes," she remarked. "When he got his first pair of shoes at our house, it was the most exciting thing for him. As he got older, that was kind of a bright spot – something to look forward to.”
Williams was drawn to the idea of sharing her son’s hobby of collecting shoes, by helping kids who may not have their own. Working for different Texas school districts over the year, Williams said she's seen firsthand how children without sufficient clothing suffer, and have trouble focusing in class. And, she recalled how her son loved to use his shoe purchasing habit for charitable efforts, like clothing drives.
“Every kid in our area should be able to start school with a new pair of shoes that fit," Williams said. "It makes a difference on day one. It’s just a confidence booster to walk in there with shoes that fit.”
With the help of some local connections, Jason Wright’s family have started ‘Kicks for Kids,’ a shoe drive benefiting CSISD's clothing distribution program ‘Chrissy’s Closet.’ Pairs of newly purchased shoes, sized for both kids and older teenagers, can be donated all throughout the month of July [Jason Wright's birthday month] at Elms Orthodontics in College Station, Daniel Stark law firm in Bryan, or Living Hope Church College Station.
“The community response has just been amazing so far," said Maria Wiggins, aunt of Jason Wright and promoter for Kicks for Kids . "A lot of people have asked how they can help, how they can spread the word. I know that at the Elms Orthodontics location, they have about a dozen pairs of shoes. There’ve been monetary donations coming in as well. Chrissy’s Closet has updated us that there’s about $1,000 donated so far through the month, so we’re really excited about that.”
Anyone interested in honoring Jason Wright and giving shoes to students in need, can also visit the Facebook page ‘Kicks for Kids BCS.'
The family also hope to place more donation boxes at interested businesses around the county.“We are just a College Station family trying to honor our son and give back in the process," said Williams.