Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Kidsave Miracles Gala, D. C. for a night of fun and fundraising as we heard from special guests, Kidsave alumni, and our heroic team in Ukraine.
The night started with a special message from Senator Dick Durbin in support of Kidsave and our dedicated work on behalf of kids in foster care in the U.S. and orphans around the world.
Then, we heard from the co-chair of Kidsave’s board of Trustees, Beth Dresing, and her husband, the chair of the night’s event, Craig Goodman. In addition to being longtime supporters of Kidsave, Beth and Craig are also Kidsave parents.
“Craig and I are parents of a wonderful son Sebastian, who we met through Kidsave’s Summer Miracles program,” said Beth. “For us, tonight is personal. We know what events like this enable Kidsave to do and the impact it can have on so many young lives. We know first-hand that family is exactly what you make it…Sebastian traveled to us from Colombia 11 years ago. We’ve watched him grow from a shy, painfully silent little boy to a confident, very funny, sensitive young man and favorite uncle to his nephews and niece. In the fall, he will dance his way to the finish line of his senior year in college, and I mean that literally as he is a dance major with a 4-year partial scholarship.”
Beth and Craig were Champion Sponsors of the gala we are so grateful for their continued support and their presence in D.C.
They then introduced Kidsave’s Vice President of Eastern Europe and CIS programs, Tatiana Stafford, who spoke about the incredible work Kidsave have been doing in Ukraine. Tatiana explained that Kidsave has had an established presence in Ukraine since 2016 conducting successful reunification, family-finding, and corporate mentoring programs for older orphans in institutional care.
Our Ukraine programs were hugely successful, allowing many children to move out of institutions and into family-care settings from 2016 to 2021. This success was partly due to the dedicated support of The Boeing Company. Their backing has allowed us to begin these programs, and their support has only increased since the invasion. Their support has also allowed us to shift our resources from family-finding to rescue and evacuation and to provide much-needed humanitarian aid.
For this reason, we named The Boeing Company our 2022 Champion for Change award recipient. We were honored to have the Senior Vice President of The Boeing Company and President of Boeing International, Sir Michael Arthur, with us in D.C. to accept the award.
During his acceptance of the award, Sir Michael Arthur announced that The Boeing Company would be providing Kidsave with a gift of $130,000 for our work in Ukraine.
We were amazed by Boeing’s generosity, and we cannot wait to see the incredible work our Ukrainian team will do with this support.
Since the invasion on February 24, our Ukrainian team—dubbed by locals as “Angels of Hope”— to date has rescued approximately 20,500 people and delivered over 260 tons of humanitarian aid. In April, actor and BlueCheck Ukraine founder Liev Schreiber visited Ukraine and met with Kidsave team member and Angels of Hope leader Pavlo Shulha. In a video message, Liev expressed how inspirational the Angels of Hope and Pavlo truly are.
“On a recent trip to Ukraine, I had the pleasure of meeting Pavlo and Olena, and I was extremely moved by their commitment and compassion for their fellow countrymen. I nicknamed Pavlo the real Ray Donovan because that’s what he is, a fixer,” said Liev with a laugh. Because of the incredible work they have done to save lives and help their countrymen and nation, Liev presented Pavlo and his team with the inaugural Kidsave Angels of Hope award.
Message From the Ukraine
The Angels of Hope were unable to join us in D.C. as they are still actively working to save lives in Ukraine, but Pavlo did send a very special video message all the way from Ukraine.
“Thank you for this incredible honor,” said Pavlo.
“This wasn’t our work,” Pavlo explained as he stood in front of the ruins of a building destroyed by an airstrike. “Our work was to help older orphans find the families they so desperately need. That’s what we were doing before the war began. But on February 24, that tragic day, we could not sit idly by. We rescued the children and the families created through our program. We couldn’t stop there, we had to help more people.”
Pavlo went on to explain that he and his team of dedicated volunteers continue to travel in and out of active combat zones—areas undergoing airstrikes and laced with landmines—to rescue and evacuate and deliver life-saving food and medicines.
As his speech came to an end, Pavlo issued a final plea: “Please continue to support Kidsave so we can continue to make a difference. And please, don’t forget about us. Thank you.”
His words weighed heavily on everyone in the room, safe in a room in Washington, D.C., far from the dangers of Pavlo’s world.
Learn More about Kidsave’s Ukraine Efforts
Kidsave Kid Duvan Tells His Story
Soon, spirits were lifted as Duvan Allan was welcomed to the podium. Duvan is a Kidsave alum who met his parents through our Summer Miracles program in 2011. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as he spoke about his childhood in Colombia, where he had to beg for money and food in the streets. Through Kidsave, Duvan was given the opportunity to come to the U.S. in the hopes of making a lasting connection with a potential adoptive family.
“My first memory of Steve and Rita Allan, my Kidsave hosts, was walking up to them in the airport and seeing a look of worry in Rita’s eyes. Fearful that I felt sick from the nerves and from my first flight, the first thing she asked me was, ‘Necesitas vomitar?’ or ‘Do you need to throw up?’ That funny moment at the airport was the start of an amazing summer,” said Duvan.
Duvan went on to describe the wonderful summer he had with Steve and Rita and the precious memories they made. At the end of the summer, he had to return to his foster home in Colombia but little did he know, he wouldn’t be staying in Colombia for very long.
“I never stopped thinking about Steve and Rita,” said Duvan. “As it turns out, they didn’t stop thinking about me either. I didn’t know it, but while I was back in my foster home, they were busy doing all the paperwork required to bring me back home as fast as they could. I was adopted in 2012, just one year after I met Steve and Rita, who I now call Mom and Dad.”
Duvan is now nearing his senior year in college, where he studies child psychology. Every summer, Duvan volunteers with Kidsave’s Summer Miracles program. He is dedicating his life to making sure other kids have the same chance to find their forever family and thrive that he did.
The Evening Draws to a Close
Duvan’s inspirational message kicked off the fundraising portion of the night as we moved into a riveting live auction and Bid from the Heart. Overall, it was an amazing evening, and we could not have done it without our incredible sponsors, our rock-star Kidsave kids, and our dedicated Kidsave staff.
Thank you to everyone who attended and made it such a special and memorable night. And to everyone who gave so generously, thank you for making a difference.
It is because of you that we can do the life-changing work that we do.
You can watch the taped LA event and donate here.