Kidsave’s leadership joined six other charities to participate in the Austin Hooper Foundation’s Second Annual Golf Tournament in Napa County, California.
Like Kidsave, the Austin Hooper Foundation is dedicated to creating positive change for older kids in foster care with programs specifically designed for teens aging out of foster care with little to no support system. The Austin Hooper Foundation is the passion project of professional football player Austin Hooper.
At just 27 years old, Hooper uses his status as a professional football player to promote positive change everywhere he goes. When he played tight end for the Cleveland Browns, Hooper worked closely with OhioGuidestone, raising money for local foster youth in Ohio. His football career currently has him playing for the Titans in Nashville, Tennessee, but as a San Mateo native, Hooper is still dedicated to helping those in his home state of California.
Kidsave board associates Keri Richmond and Galina Carson spoke at the annual dinner about their experiences in finding supportive connections.
Keri Richmond is a passionate advocate for children and families in her personal and professional life. After being in Ohio’s foster care system on and off for four years, Keri has become an active leader for foster care reform as an international speaker, podcast host, child welfare policy expert, and advocate. As a proud member of Kidsave’s associate board, she works to help older kids in foster care find caring connections.
“The reason I am here today is because of the mentors who showed up for me. The village that surrounded me. The coaches, the teachers, and the families in my community who said, ‘you’re different, Keri, you’re not your circumstances. And you can be the person who breaks this cycle’,” said Keri to the room.
“I’m looking at all of you in this room because everyone might not be in the situation to foster or adopt. All kids in foster care might not want to be adopted, but I’ll tell you what, we all… all of us… need someone in our corners. All of us need support and help and someone to lean on.”
Galina Carson, now an account executive at Amazon, found an adoptive family through Kidsave. At seven years old, Carson was placed in a Kazakhstani orphanage and considered “un-adoptable” due to her age. When she was ten, Carson met her adoptive parents through Summer Miracles, a program that finds forever families for international kids whose chances of finding families in their own country have been exhausted.
“Having a family gave me a second chance at a bright future I didn’t know was possible,” Galina said to the large crowd of foster care advocates and supporters. “I’m grateful to my parents for raising me, supporting me through school and interests, and most importantly, loving me unconditionally. My life would look very different today if it weren’t for Kidsave and my family.
Thank you, Austin Hooper, for having a heart for children who need the love and support only a family can provide.