EDINBURG — Many middle schoolers here have good reason to cheer for the Houston Texans next year.
The district announced last week that it had received $40,000 in grants from a charitable organization fronted by Texans defensive end JJ Watt.
More than 500 students from all six Edinburg CISD middle schools will be receiving uniforms and sporting equipment provided by Justin J. Watt Foundation grants, the district said in a statement.
“What he does is fund uniforms and equipment for only middle schools,” Leo Reyes, health coordinator for the school district, wrote in the release. “This is something that is going to be for all sports. You’re talking about basketball, softball, baseball, football and cheerleading.”
The national foundation has donated almost $6 million to schools since 2011, according to its website.
“The kids that we have at our school are the ones that definitely need the help,” stated Bertha Chavana, who heads the PE department at Harwell Middle School. “It softens my heart that JJ Watt is giving back and that he is helping our students feel like they are a part of a bigger program.”
The Watt Foundation has donated about $65,000 to Edinburg schools over the last three years, the release stated.
“I just want to say thank you so much to the Justin J. Watt Foundation, specifically to JJ Watt and his mom, Connie,” Chavana said. “I know it is a ton of work, but I just want to say thank you for all the work you do to help our students here in Texas.”
Edinburg CISD is not the only district to benefit from Watt’s foundation in recent years. In 2019 alone, the organization donated over $73,000 to Edinburg, Hidalgo, Pharr and Roma schools, according to its website.
“The ultimate goal for this foundation is to provide an opportunity for kids to be kids. We want them to be able to have fun and enjoy playing sports with their peers, but at the same time, we want to help lay a solid foundation of characteristics on which they may build the rest of their life,” a statement on the Watt Foundation’s website reads. “We want to encourage these kids to dream, and dream big. We want to show them that anything is possible as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to reach your goals. We want to help give these kids every opportunity for success, and we believe the morals and values they will learn from participating in athletics will carry forth throughout all other aspects of their life.”
On the website, Watt writes that he formed the organization to give children the same opportunities he had.
“I would not have received such success if it were not for the support of athletics,” he wrote. “This is the intent of my organization.”