Red Oak resident Stephanie Saunders is doing everything above and beyond to keep her brother’s memory alive through a financial assistance program she recently started, “Jason’s Promise” (Children of Murdered Parents).

The year-round program was started in memory of Jason S. Saunders, who was a victim of a murder/suicide in Glenn Heights on Jan. 3, and is aimed at providing assistance to the surviving parent and children of murder victims.

“The program just started, but I hope it’ll just spread like wildfire,” Stephanie said. “I want to be the next MADD and, outside my job, I will devote my time to the program to make that happen. I want this program to gain national coverage because I want to be able to help other children and single parents of murder victims outside the state of Texas.”

Stephanie recently interviewed with a reporter from Channel 11 News and is sending a letter via e-mail to talk show host, Dr. Phil.

Her reason for starting this program came to her through her brother, she said.

“I was attending a Garden of Angels event in Euless where we have an angel for my brother there,” she said. “After watching the event on the news, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was like my brother was telling me to turn my hurt and anger into something that would help other people so that’s what I did.

“This is not only a promise to my three nephews, but also a promise to my brother and his memory, which explains the name, Jason’s Promise,” she said. “I wanted his name in it one way or another.”

The program is designed to help lift the financial burden off children and single parents who are left victimized after the loss of a murdered parent.

“Through this program, I hope to make sure that parents and kids have the necessities needed, which would allow them to keep what they can out of their childhood, otherwise they may be forced to give up with only one parent’s finances,” she said. “With the loss of a parent, a lot has already been taken away.”

Stephanie said her focus is to touch every aspect of a child’s and parent’s life she possibly can.

“I don’t want to just collect toys during the Christmas holiday. I want to also be able to host school supply drives, sponsor a trip to Six Flags across Texas, a trip to the zoo and, because my brother loved to play sports, I would like to help single parents pay for sports’ cost. You know, things that kids would normally be able to do with a two-parent income,” she said. “A child should not have to give up their childhood and should be able to have as close to a normal life.”

Jason’s death left behind three sons: Josh, 11; Dylan, 8; and Dakota, 5.

People may donate money, clothes, gift cards and groceries to help with families of murder victims to P.O. Box 806, Red Oak, TX 75154.  Monetary donations also can be made at Washington Mutual. The bank account number set up for the organization is 8843582342.

For more information, contact Saunders at 214-952-4441.

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