The Woodson Center would like you to join us as we welcome our 2021 mini grant recipient, Jacarrie Car, CEO and founder of Jacarrie Kicks for Kids, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jacarrie is literally connecting souls through soles, by the model he developed that uses shoes to uplift and save the lives of youth in his community. The shoes are used as an enticement to enroll in his program, which seeks to develop students academically, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, reaching adolescents through adulthood by providing a holistic education that prepares them to live well in the world.
Although his non-profit became official in 2015, Jacarrie was saving up his own personal money three years before, to purchase shoes to reward kids in his community for their positive grades. “I was trying to find a creative way, to engage the kids who were heading down a destructive path,” Jacarrie explained, “and then I found something they really loved, shoes!”
Jacarrie understands the needs of the kids he serves, because he was born and raised in poverty, and faced many obstacles growing up in one of Milwaukee’s low-income and violent neighborhoods. Through his organization, he is determined to help create a pathway from poverty to college.
In a recent interview, Jacarrie reported, “The mini grant is going to help us tremendously impact our youth. Every year Kicks for Kids hosts a 4-week summer camp where we employ twenty high school students to perform certain jobs, receive leadership training, learn work ethic skills, and entrepreneurship development. The seed money enables us to give these students a small stipend for the work they do. After the camp is finished, the youth become mentors to the new students we employ for the next year’s summer camp session.”
As a result of the mini grant helping Jacarrie to also measure the impact of his program, he can apply for larger grants that will fund his greater vision: To have a full-service year-round afterschool program, that will operate 6 days a week during non-traditional hours, a prime time when kids often get into trouble. The program would provide workshops, leadership skills, tutoring services, book clubs, and influential guest speakers. “We will be able to keep track of their grades, family issues, provide more scholarships when they go onto college, and much more.”