TYLER, TX (KLTV) - No matter where you are this weekend, an East Texas organization helping abused foster children is hosting a fundraising event you can take part in.
This Saturday, Artfix Cultured Studios in Downtown Tyler is teaming up with Hope Haven of East Texas for “Stronger Together: Women Artists.”
“Every dime that is donated to Hope Haven stays right here and serves these girls in Smith County,” said Kimberly Brown, Financial Director of Hope Haven. “[We] exist because of community support.”
Hope Haven of East Texas is a residential treatment home specifically for teenage foster girls who have faced abuse. According to Brown, it is the only program of its kind in East Texas.
“We want people to become aware of this problem, and it is an epidemic,” said Brown. “We want to prepare them for healthy adult living.”
The young ladies who enter the doors of Hope Haven aren’t simply getting a place to lay their head each night, but a family of support teaching them critical life skills as they near adulthood.
“We have a child right now that we are teaching how to drive. We’ve watched girls get their first job. We take them to the bank and they open up a checking account,” said Brown. “We celebrated this past six weeks because every child in the home had passing grades, and so we celebrate the small victories.”
If there is anyone who would have benefited from a safe place like Hope Haven, Artfix Owner Edi De la Huerta says it would have been her.
At this Saturday’s event, she will open her studio to several female artists releasing new art pieces for sale. One artist will also be painting the main auction item from scratch on Facebook live.
“We’re just going to let her create,” said de la Huerta. “Art has been a big part of my life, it helped me heal when I got into this accident.”
Wheelchair-bound and a victim of child abuse, De la Huerta said she was overjoyed to be able to provide an opportunity to raise money and awareness for an organization like Hope Haven.
“I don't think I would have endured so much as I did, if I had some place to go like that,” said De la Huerta.
The studio owner said, even following an accident that left her unable to walk, she knew she had to fight for herself and others who walked a similar path.
“I’m a single mom, so that wasn’t an option for me. I’m like 'nope, i have to take care of my son!’” she said.
We asked De la Huerta what she hopes the girls of Hope Haven take away from knowing the community is rallying around them. She said, “Healing.”
“This is just a perfect opportunity for awareness, just to let people know who we are, and talk about these precious children that we are able to serve,” said Brown. “The bottom line is is that we exist as a safe haven, so that these girls can receive the hope and the healing.”