Berkeley youth’s fundraiser helps make holidays brighter for shelter kids

  • Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Provided Father and son Dean (left) and Drake Smith (right) pose in front of the Christmas tree at Callen-Lacey Center for Children in Moncks Corner. A cookout his father once hosted at the Callen-Lacey Center in which he had the opportunity to meet the children motivated Drake to help the children’s emergency shelter this holiday.

Drake Smith has never forgotten the cookout his family hosted for the Callen-Lacey Center for Children in Moncks Corner two years ago.

At the time his dad, Dean Smith, sat on the advisory council for Callen-Lacey, the only emergency shelter in Berkeley County serving abused, abandoned and neglected youth.

Meeting and conversing with these disadvantaged children who had been dealt a bad hand made a big impression on Drake, who was 17 at the time.

He had grown up in a safe and supportive environment, never lacking for food, material goods or academic encouragement. To see these kids who had been placed in the shelter because their parents either mistreated them or lacked sufficient resources to provide for them was an eye-opening experience.

“The cookout was like a hit from reality that everything is not always ‘sunshine and rainbows,’” remembers Drake.

As the holidays approached this year Drake, now a senior at Summerville’s Faith Christian School, decided he wanted to do something to give back to the children at Callen-Lacey, a shelter under the umbrella of the nonprofit Carolina Youth Development Center.

Drake learned about a ticket raffle being held on Dec. 8 at Sapphires, a Goose Creek sports bar owned by his aunt and uncle Charlene and Mike Szews. He asked them if a portion of ticket proceeds could benefit Callen-Lacey. Of course they readily agreed.

What he did not expect was that his aunt and uncle would allocate the entire $500 sum from the raffle to Callen-Lacey.

Thanks to Drake’s and their charitable efforts, and the generous spirit of people in the community, the holidays were a joyous occasion for Callen-Lacey Center children. Drake relished the opportunity to help.

“My father has been involved with the kids for many years, and when I got to interact with some of these kids, I could see the huge impact that being taken away from their families had on them,” recalls Drake.

“The Callen-Lacey Center has done a lot for the youth and we should take a chance to help Callen-Lacey whenever we can. The least that I could do for them was give them something during the Christmas holidays.”

For more information on the Callen-Lacey Center, visit http://www.cydc.org/our-programs/callen-lacey-center/.

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