Joshua Sharon explained he has a special place in his heart for the City of Killeen.
"Born and raised in Killeen. Born on Fort Hood. Graduated from Heights in '03," said Sharon.
His search for a way to give back to the community that raised him, led him to create a non-profit organization called P.O.W.E.R.
"So, P.O.W.E.R. was founded in 2014 by myself and two friends. We wanted to kind of create an organization that could kind of create the concept that community as a whole is strong, and so that's where the name P.OW.E.R. came from. And then, we worked backward to the name of the organization which is People Offering Wisdom, Empowerment and Resources," said Sharon.
In 2015, he reached out to Communities In Schools of Greater Central Texas, Inc. to see how they could help.
"Every year we provide services to over 5,000 children that need outside resources to help them graduation," said Christine Elias, Director of special projects and marketing at Communities In Schools of Greater Central Texas, Inc.
Since partnering with the organization, each year P.OW.E.R. has helped lead a clothing, toiletry and toy drive for Killeen students in need, just in time for the holidays.
"We're just the vehicle. It's the community that does all of this work for us. We do it in Atlanta, Fort Worth, Vegas and then Killeen. And in Killeen I have, because of growing up here, a good network of friends and family that I literally just reach out to and then they use their connections," said Sharon.
This year P.O.W.E.R. sponsored 48 students and one parent, providing about $5,000 worth of gifts.
"It's great. It really is just overwhelming to have that much support from one organization," said Elias.
Those involved also said the donations make a world of difference for the kids who receive them.
"The behavior is better while at school. Their self-esteem is heightened while going to school. They know who they are and they understand it's not about the gifts but that somebody is always looking out for them," said Colesha Johnson, Communities In Schools of Greater Central Texas, Inc. site coordinator.
"I'm glad that the kids get to enjoy Christmas," said Sharon.
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