(HOUSTON) — Hundreds of supporters and friends celebrated the work of DePelchin Children’s Center on April 26 at DePelchin’s annual Families for Kids luncheon. The event raised more thabn $360,000 for the services and programs that DePelchin provides to ensure children are part of safe and loving homes.
The luncheon honored Baker Botts L.L.P. with the Kezia Payne DePelchin Award, which is named for the woman who founded DePelchin in Houston in 1892 when she discovered three babies on her doorstep and opened what she called a “faith home” for the children. When she died suddenly the next year, the faith home she established was at risk of being lost until some of Houston’s most notable women — including Alice Graham Baker, wife of Captain James A. Baker — vowed to carry on the mission. At Mrs. Baker’s request, Captain Baker organized and secured a Charter of Incorporation to formally continue the mission started by Ms. DePelchin, and what was then known as the DePelchin Faith Home Association would become Baker Botts’ longest-tenured pro bono client.
Baker Botts lawyers have served on the DePelchin Board throughout the organization’s history, and some of the most recognized members of the firm have provided pro bono services to DePelchin.
“In my twelve years at DePelchin, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside Baker Botts partners and staff members, and their dedication to our children and families has been unmistakable,” said DePelchin CEO Jenifer Jarriel. “Everything they do for DePelchin is because they share our vision for a world in which all children are safe and healthy.”
The award was accepted by Baker Botts Partners Scott Janoe, who sits on the DePelchin Board of Directors, and Keri Brown, who sits on the Board of the Foundation for DePelchin Children’s Center.
Sally McDonald of Fox 26, who hosts the station’s “Fox Finding Families” segment that features children hoping to find adoptive homes, emceed the luncheon. The featured speaker was Dr. John “Push” Gaines, a former at-risk foster youth turned youth advocate, author, college football champion and motivational speaker.
Cecily and Rick Burleson served as Chairs of this year’s luncheon.
Money raised at the Families for Children event supports an array of DePelchin services, including maltreatment-prevention programs, family preservation, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. Last year, 769 children were cared for in foster homes, 140 families were licensed to provide foster care, and 128 children were adopted through DePelchin.