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Orangewood Children's Foundation

Shannon Colbert, Felicia Solomon and Carey Clawson

Please smile, my story isn’t a sad one,” said Karla, the youth speaker at the 44 Women for Children luncheon, a fundraiser for Orangewood Children’s Foundation. She could have fooled those in the audience, many of whom were in tears after just seeing an emotionally charged short film Karla created about the abuse she and two sisters suffered growing up.

But then Karla talked about how 44 Women, a nonprofit group focused on the challenges foster youth face once they’re emancipated at age 18, helped change her life. She graduated from college, spent two years teaching in Hawaii with Teach for America, and now is earning a master’s degree at John’s Hopkins University, funded in part through an Orangewood scholarship.

“Your contribution delivers miracles,” she told the audience. “You took a chance on me, and now I no longer contemplate ‘how will I get there,’ but ‘of all that is possible, what will I choose?’”

The event held at the Resort at Pelican Hill concluded with a Q&A between Vikki Vargas and Holly Robinson Peete, who along with husband Rodney Peete founded the HollyRod Foundation for those living with Parkinson’s and autism.

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