This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE.
Place of Residence: Atlanta
Why She’s a Game Changer: As a former foster child, Wright knows what it’s like to go without. She understands that the next meal, new clothes, love, and warmth aren’t guaranteed facts of life for everyone.
Luckily, this outgoing 17-year-old was adopted when she was 4 years old, but it was a rough ride.
By the time she was four, Wright had been moved four times.
In 2011, half of the kids entering foster care in this country were children of color. African Americans make up 27 percent of the foster care population despite Blacks making up only 13 percent of the country’s population.
But Wright has decided to reach back and help kids who were once in her position.
Wright hosts “Free Your Mind” backpack drives for foster children. And raising awareness about older kids in foster care is also part of her effort to give back. The enterprising teen also speaks to community groups about her experience in foster care.
When she arrived at the home of the woman who would become her mother, all of her possessions were in a garbage bag, said Wright.
“I remember bouncing from house to house,” said Wright. “You never knew where your next meal or set of clothes were going to come from.”
“I understand that sense of always wanting to hold on to things,” Wright added.
Wright has collected more than 250 new or gently used backpacks. She wants kids who were once in her position to have something of their own.
“When you’re in foster care, it’s kind of hard because certain things aren’t yours to keep. Other kids, they know that pair of jeans, that pair of shoes is theirs to keep, but when you’re in foster care, you don’t have certain things,” said Wright.
Wright was recently named a a 2013 Allstate Give Back Day Hero, an annual award that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Freedom Wright is an outstanding individual who keeps Dr. King’s legacy alive through her unwavering devotion to bettering the greater Atlanta community,” said Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility for Allstate.
Not only is Wright of great service to her community, she is also a good student. She was recently awarded a four-year scholarship to Syracuse University.
Just imagine the bright future this young woman has in front of her. She has decided to let her past propel her to greater heights rather than have it be a hindrance.
“Even if I don’t meet a person I’m helping directly I know my actions are still helping them because every little bit helps,” said Wright.