Providing positive encouragement for seat belt and vehicle safety.
What was a father to do? With sleep eluding him, he downloaded every photo he could find on Facebook. He realized he couldn't find any photo showing her with a seat belt on in a vehicle - and then found the same in her friends' photos. As Tad Johnson stared sleeplessly at the computer screen after the death of his daughter, Alexa, he leaned back and said, "Oh Alexa! What are we going to do?" As he "hugged" himself, he realized he was forming the shape of a seat belt - the one thing that could have saved Alexa's life. He quickly typed a message to Alexa's friends encouraging them to buckle up and think of the seat belt as a "hug" from Alexa. This was the inspiration for the founding of Alexa's Hugs and for the design of a Hug™.
Tad and his wife, Jona, began making Hugs™ within weeks of Alexa's death. The seat belt reminders were such a hit that they made 1,100 that first year for graduating seniors - customized with each school's color and logo. The Johnsons also started a contest they call "Click It to Win It," where Alexa's friends were encouraged to post a photo every day of themselves wearing a seat belt (in a parked vehicle, of course) and be entered to win prizes. A few months later, the family started working with their local high schools to increase seat belt use and improve teen driver safety - the first Seat Belt Challenge in Loveland. With the growth of the programs, the Johnsons had gathered a team of local leaders to work with them on strategic planning and board development. Alexa's Hugs was formally founded as a non-profit in January, 2014 - less than a year after their tragic loss of Alexa.
Since then, the organization continues to grow each year. Alexa's Hugs believes in collaborating with other entities and organizations, and always remains focused on their mission of providing positive encouragement for seat belt and vehicle safety. Our ultimate goal is to prevent other families from suffering a similar loss due to a preventable traffic crash.
"I'm texting you because I'm alive. Please never stop Alexa's Hugs. That's the reason I'm alive. Thank you." - Carissa
"I can't believe I'm still standing here today with just a couple minor injuries. I rolled my car two times. I totaled it and had to get 7 stitches in my head, one in my hand and I have a concussion. I was wearing my seat belt. It was Alexa hugging me! I thank God for being by my side and helping me through this." -Justin
"Tad, I would like to say thank you for encouraging everyone to wear their seat belts. Alexa, I would like to say thank you for being a guardian angel today! As I was exiting I hit a slick spot during the rain and spun out and rolled. I have whiplash and soft tissue injuries in my neck, head and lower back, but I was wearing my seat belt and I'm so thankful that I was!" - Katelyn
"I had my seatbelt on and it saved my life!" -Mariah
"from the one who wears a seat belt because of you." - Anonymous
"Alexa's Hugs: Our family is safer today because of YOU!! Thank you, Thank you for the education and the seats. You made a difference in our lifes. God Bless" - Crystal
"Such wonderful people! My husband and I learned Alot about car seat safety in just an hour! So glad i got to meet such great people.... I feel so much better about my kids being in a car now that everything is correct and they are 100% secure thank you so very much!" - Janice
"…they are donating brand new car seats to moms in need. However the impact they are making on these mom's lives is huge. These moms are saying how unbelievably thankful they are." - Anonymous
"I went today to see if we could get all 3 of my toddlers in the back row. Not only was Tad helpful in identifying which seats were needed but he knew how to make them work and keep my kids safe. He shared safety tips the entire time and was genuinely concerned with their safety while we were there. Thank you for helping make my boys happy and safe." - Beverly