In December 2021, we received a heartfelt volunteer request from Brandi Evans, co-founder of the Nate Evans Love and Light Foundation. Little did we know, one message from Brandi would quickly blossom into a long-lasting partnership.
We were so moved to learn that the foundation Brandi created was in memory of her son, Nate Evans. Nate was a leader, creative spirit, and accomplished athlete, who unfortunately lost his life to gun violence. Brandi shared, “He struggled with depression and anxiety starting around 16/17 years old. This struggle carried on into college. Although he was a tremendous football player, his feelings and his struggle were ever present. Despite that, he was love and light to so many. I wish desperately he had gotten the help he needed and deserved, but we live in a society that even today, has placed a stigma around mental health, especially in male-athletes.”
Brandi was inspired to honor her son by launching The Nate Evans Love and Light Foundation in December of 2020. The Foundation’s mission is to promote the passions and causes that were dearest to Nate, with a focus on fighting systemic injustices, supporting mental health, fostering creativity, and building community. To that end, Brandi was eager to partner with ChildSavers during the holiday season.
Just before the new year, Brandi and her daughter, Nena, donated 40 Feel Better Bags for children and teens. Feel Better Bags are used by children aged 2-17 to provide emotional support and soothing activities often at the scene of trauma. These bags contain therapeutic toys or art supplies to help clients during critical moments in our community.
Our partnership with the foundation continued in April when Brandi and Nena volunteered an afternoon to clean and reorganize our in-kind Donation room. This room is used to store toys, books, and supplies that support the work of our clinicians and child care providers. The team gave the space a much-needed makeover to restore it to an accessible and welcoming environment for our staff and clients.
While cleaning the space they noticed the need for more inclusive toys and dolls. Just last month, Brandi returned to ChildSavers to donate boxes of brand new dolls, ensuring that they represented various cultures and abilities. That same day, Brandi shared with our team that the Nate Evans Love and Light Foundation planned to make a donation in honor of Nate’s 23rd birthday on May 12th.
We are deeply honored to work with Brandi and her team to continue Nate’s legacy by supporting mental health services for children in our community.
To learn more about how to help or donate to ChildSavers, visit our website to see what’s right for you!
Pictured (left to right): Andrea Willis, Immediate Response Clinician, Brandi Evans, Yasmin Gregg, Development Operations Officer, and Nena Evans