Fred Brock American Legion Post 828 in San Antonio, Texas, hosted its annual Project Shoes fundraiser last month to provide students at Highlands High School with new shoes. The event raised $1,148.
“Post 828 is helping to make students productive members of the community,” said Burrell Parmer, Post 828 first vice commander. “This simple gesture of purchasing a new pair of shoes increases the child’s self-esteem. In turn, the results help to increases students’ attendance, and can ultimately help to increase graduation rates.”
Project Shoes is a Children & Youth program of Post 828 that got underway in 2017 under the guidance of Legionnaire Gus Coleman. For Coleman, it was personal.
“I remember my mother struggling to put clothes on our back, and shoes on the feet of six kids,” Coleman wrote. “I bought my first pair of shoes when I was 14 with money that I earned by working in a school program. I remember how my self-esteem increased when I bought them, so I want other young kids to experience the same.”
Post 828 worked with Guadalupe Juarez, a counselor at Highlands High School, to get the program started. The school counselors identify students in need of new shoes and uses the funds from Post 828’s Project Shoes to purchase them. Since its founding, Project Shoes has raised nearly $10,000.
“We have a very strong commitment to helping the children and youth in our community,” said Post 828 Commander Al Alford.
Alford and Coleman presented the $1,148 check to Juarez and Highlands High School Principal Dr. Penny Pruitt during the post’s holiday party on Dec. 17, 2021.
Alford said Project Shoes has been very successful due to the support of Billy Ray Sheppard, a jazz artist who has been donating his talents and time to provide entertainment since the first Project Shoes event four years ago.