Jomani “Jo-Jo” Wright was a promising basketball talent out of Uniondale High School in Long Island, New York who tragically lost his life in a car accident in late January while him and three other athletes were traveling towards a workout facility.
The cause of the car accident is still under investigation by the Nassau County Police, but it has been reported that Wright was traveling in a Honda CR-V that collided with a vehicle driven by an 87-year-old man right before hitting a large pole.
Everyone who knew Jo-Jo understood that he was well on his way towards a collegiate basketball career, and he also was an honor roll student while winning Player of the Year during his two years as a Uniondale High School basketball leader.
Wright’s tragic death left an incredibly difficult mark on the Uniondale High School basketball program, as well as the entire Uniondale community that has been struggling towards in-person classes due to the current health crisis.
Uniondale High School worked with ARES Sportswear to develop a custom apparel campaign oriented around supporting the Wright family and the entire high school as the community coped with the loss of Jo-Jo. The online store was named the Remembering Jo-Jo Store, and the fundraising success of the store was astonishing to ARES representative, Shawna Smith.
“We didn’t have any original goals except to just support the Uniondale community, but the actual community response was very big,” Smith said. “I think when it comes to ARES’ involvement, the school needed to trust that they were working with a group that could get a store up quickly and get the actual products out the door very fast, which we did.”
Within a matter of days the Remembering Jo-Jo Store developed over $14K in sales and $6.5K in fundraising, which was based upon $14 of fundraising for each custom apparel item. All of the proceeds went to the Wright family and a scholarship in Jo-Jo’s name. But what’s also incredible about this online store is that it did so much more than just financially support a mourning family, because it also provided clothing to help the entire Uniondale High School community cope with the recent tragedy.
“Rallying the community around this tragedy was the primary goal, and our job was to get something into the people’s hands so they could wear the apparel and show their support, especially at school and community events,” said Smith. “To be honest, raising money was a secondary goal, but the community support was so massive that a lot of money got raised for Jo-Jo’s family and the forthcoming scholarship that is being created in Jo-Jo’s name.”
The success of the Remembering Jo-Jo Store is a testament to just how influential Wright was throughout the entire Uniondale community, and it also shows how custom apparel campaigns can bring people together in remarkable ways. Although Jo-Jo is no longer with his staff and peers at Uniondale High School, there are countless people who will always remember him when they wear a t-shirt with his name on it.
And during a time when communities throughout the entire United States are struggling with an unprecedented frequency of lost loved ones, this type of silver lining to a tragedy comes with a special glimmer!
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