Why We Established Cool Gear for the School Year
by Jason Taylor
I didn’t grow up with much.
My Mom busted her tail, working at least two jobs per day to make sure we were fed and had a place to live, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know what it was like to stand in line waiting for government assistance.
And as a tall, skinny kid who was growing faster than my peers, I certainly experienced my share of embarrassment because my clothes didn’t fit right. Too small. Too generic. Too much like somebody else’s old clothes because, well…they were.
Years later, while playing defensive end for the Miami Dolphins, we had a saying in the locker room:
“Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good.”
Now, while that was a fun way to get us hyped up for a big game, it also speaks volumes to the power of self-belief and empowerment. Of course, as I reflect on some of my childhood experiences, I realize that this mantra also extends far beyond the gridiron.
For these reasons, I established the “Cool Gear for the School Year” initiative through my Foundation back in 2005. Our mission with this program is to help build each child’s self-esteem and eliminate the unnecessary distraction in school that comes with not feeling good about the clothing you are wearing. I want kids to be able to focus on their studies and not their attire while they sit in a classroom.
Each year, we take 40-60 deserving young people to the Old Navy store in Davie and provide them with $300 to purchase their new “Cool Gear” as the school year begins.
This Labor Day will mark our 17th Cool Gear and to date, we have provided nearly $290,000 in new clothes to more than 950 young people…and we can’t wait to do more!
As we approach our fundraising goal for this year’s effort, I hope that you will consider supporting Cool Gear for the School Year. One hundred percent of any donation you make will go directly to the purchase of new clothing, outfitting a student, and putting plenty of smiles on some very special faces.
For more on the Jason Taylor Foundation’s Cool Gear for the School Year or if you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the organization’s website at www.JasonTaylorFoundation.org, or follow on social media sites including Facebook or Twitter and Instagram: @jtfoundation99 & @bluapplepoetry.
Jason Taylor is a Hall of Fame defensive years who played 13 of his 15 seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Taylor established the Jason Taylor Foundation in 2004 to support South Florida’s children in need and has received numerous honors and recognition for his community service including the 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.