three women stand next to each other holding boxes of shoes

Some Jones Elementary students were surprised and delighted to receive a new pair of athletic shoes as part of the "Walk in My Shoes" project.

Olivia Coffman, elected Community Leader by the Tyler Hispanic Businesses Alliance and Internal Auditor for the City of Tyler, created the generous project.

The project started after the Tyler Metro Awards, where Jones Elementary Principal Dr. NaTasha Crain was elected Best Principal in the Tyler area.

The students' needs came about during a brief conversation with Mrs. Nadia Zavala, the administrative assistant at the school.

Mrs. Zavala helped coordinate the project, gathering and supplying information on shoe sizes, ages, and gender.

Ms. Coffman called on a list of possible sponsors, and within 24 hours, the group donated all 18 pairs.

"Although two of our sponsors initially wanted to purchase all shoes,  I wanted our community to have a chance to engage in something special,"  said Ms. Coffman.  "A chance to change a kids' school year attitude. These students' blessings come from people who also have, at some point in their life, experienced hard times but who now are extraordinarily successful given their humble beginnings."

A special thanks to the project member Tyler business owners:

Laura Franco Gutierrez: Realtor

Christie and Alfonso Hernandez: ETX tree Clearing and Dirt Work (Hallsville, TX) Esmeralda Barron Ramirez: Ramirez Construction (Hallsville, TX) Claudia and Anthony Medina: Go Go Tax and Insurance Flor Ibarra: Flora Business

And Sponsors:

Ruby Dalia Abarca : Rubys Mexican Restaurants Family Saucedo: NS Investments and Properties and Chemas Autos Hannah Clark

Realtor: Fathom Realty Doug Coffman

Realtor: Reatly One Rose Group

Lourdes Esparza: Jewelev