David B. Wright Memorial Foundation (DBWMF) director and founder Shawnte’ Wright still remembers Feb. 4, 2009 —a date she’ll never forget. That was the day that her husband, David Bryan Wright, a Marine Corps veteran, was fatally shot by three teenage males in a botched robbery attempt.

Rather then blame the youth that not only drastically altered her life but the lives of her three children, the longtime Baltimorean established a foundation in her husband’s memory as a means of support for troubled teens.

“The foundation was started as a result of my husband’s death and I just wanted to turn a negative into a positive,” Wright said. “I was kind of tired of the community and the students that are struggling out here with survival and stopping the violence. to give them an impact of knowing that education is far more important and we can help them to prolong their life and do better things.”

Only two years into its existence, the DBWMF continues to make strides in uplifting members around the Baltimore community through various avenues. The foundation helps relatives of victims of crime and bereaved family members while providing resources and educational support services for drug recovery and shelter homes. Additionally, the foundation also engages teens with healthy development of life skills and provides several after-school services that help to educate both children and adults

The DBWMF will host its second annual State of Restoration and Family Union Conference later this year in September aboard the Spirit of Baltimore. The conference will address the issues surrounding victims of crime that have impacted the lives of families and students.

In May, members of the DBWMF took a tour of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Center to expose teens to the positive and negative consequences associated with decision-making. According to one student, the visit was a success.

“I think it went very well because a lot of people saw how violence can affect a person as well as other people at the same time,” said 17-year-old Patterson High School student and program participant Brittany Palmer. “It just helped me realize that everything you do has a consequence.”

Although her foundation is still fairly new, Wright admits that her program has made significant strides so far and the plan is to keep the ball rolling.

“So far we’ve been able to partner with other outreach community advocates and we’re involved in trying to help and get referrals to teenagers, students, possible students as well as elementary and middle school students. We’ve been doing peer group support in local libraries and different community events. We’re currently doing fund raisers… we’re in the process of raising the foundation money to actually award scholarships for high school students that want to go to college.”

For more information on the David B. Wright Memorial Foundation, please visit: www.davidbwrightmemorialfoundation.org

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO