ABOVE: Houston Texans linebaker Chris Landrum with Dr. Kiki, community leaders and children who were the beneficiaries of gifts from Chris’s Christmas Wish Foundation
Chris Landrum, linebacker for the Houston Texans was a modern day Santa Claus this past week at the Houston Texans YMCA, where he selected four (4) children from Booker T. Washington High School who are in need, and gave them all gifts for the holiday season.
From toys and bikes, to household necessities, such as blankets and pillows, and even entire TVs, Landrum truly put forth a gesture that embodies the holiday spirit, particularly the spirit of giving and helping those in need.
Landrum’s organization, Chris’s Christmas Wish Foundation, collaborated with STEM UP, which is an after school program at Booker T. Washington that is run by Dr. Kiki. Dr. Kiki is a Texas Southern University alum who has dedicated her life to giving underprivileged students the exposure they need to succeed in life, while also exposing them to the engineering field.
Together, they both hand-picked students from the school, who prior to the giveaway had submitted Christmas lists to Landrum, along with letters detailing some of the hardships that their families had faced all throughout the year. According to Dr. Kiki, this was the beginning of what they hope will be a yearly tradition of giving back to the youth in the Houston community.
“I was able to have a Christmas, and the thought of someone not being able to enjoy that inspired me to act, so when the opportunity came across to do that, it was a no-brainer,” said Landrum. “There was no ‘let me think about it’ or anything else.”
Dr. Kiki, as well as Landrum are looking to make this event a yearly tradition and are looking for volunteers to help get involved with future projects towards the community. Kiki in particular has previously worked with STEM UP in efforts to give children a chance at exploring the talents and opportunities outside of their regular comfort zones and surroundings.
“It’s all about giving them a chance,” said Dr. Kiki, while explaining her inspiration for her work in STEM UP. “Pulling them out of the cave and introducing them to something they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to.”
The event went on for well over an hour, with Landrum talking to and taking photos with the children. He got the opportunity to know all of the children on an individual basis before sending the kids on their way back to school for the day – gifts in tow. Landrum and Dr. Kiki clearly demonstrated what it truly means to give back during the holiday season. Hopefully, this will carry on well into the future and build a bridge for all underprivileged children in Houston.