Permian Basin kids get VIP back-to-school shoe shopping experience

Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 5:47 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Twenty-five Permian Basin kids will step into the school year with a new pair of kicks, thanks to a local business owner who partnered with the Permian Basin Boys and Girls Club.

The Footlocker at Music City Mall was closed to the public on Wednesday morning, making it a VIP shopping experience for the kids.

When Anthony Bolton couldn’t afford an outfit to compete in a middle school dance competition, his principal stepped in.

“He didn’t buy me the stuff I wanted to wear, but it was some stuff that was new,” Bolton said. “And I won that night.”

That’s part of the reason Bolton and his family wanted to buy shoes for the 25 upstanding members of the Permian Basin Boys and Girls Club.

“We’re not really doing it just because they didn’t have shoes,” Bolton said. “We’re doing it because we want to be able to be leaders in the community, as we should be, and show leadership as we are that generation and bringing up the next generation.”

Five kids from each of the Five Permian Basin club locations were chosen.

Each child received a $100 gift card and chose their shoes. The room was filled with thoughtful chatter about colors and sizes. Footlocker staff also gave them goodie bags.

If they didn’t meet their $100 limit, they picked out socks and hats.

“They were chosen by their club directors as leaders in the club. Kids who just, let’s let them stand out and stand up on their own and represent their club,” said Andra Jones, executive director of the Permian Basin Boys and Girls Club.

One of those leaders was Ryan Chavez, who picked a pair of purple Jordans. He’s known for being a helper among his boys and girls group.

“If you help out a lot and do much, like you don’t have to force yourself, but if you want to, stuff can happen like this,” Chavez said.

Organizers say confidence is the point of the event.

“I think the biggest thing is, you hear so much about mental health and self confidence with kids,” Jones said. “And so for these kids to be able to stand tall and walk into school and be proud of themselves, because I believe if you look good, you feel good.”

Club member Karon Stewart has specific plans for the new shoes.

“Not get them dirty and wear them like style,” Stewart said.

While the event celebrates the kids, organizers say it’s also about inspiring others to do the same.

“I’m hoping that that’s what I get out of this, is that I become a vessel for others to see that if I can do it, anybody can do it, you know?” Bolton said.

The kids also had lunch at the Marriott and met with former Dallas Cowboy Roy Williams.