What is Hope? One definition says; its the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. For each and every one of us it has a different meaning, definition, or promise. To the youths in this program it means that hope actually exists.
Echoes of Hope was founded by Stacia and Luc Robitaille to help the at-risk and emancipated foster youth of LA. If you talk to any of the individuals involved they will tell you how Echoes of Hope has changed them, whether they are a youth in the program, a volunteer, or a staff member.
This past weekend the Echoes of Hope staff and volunteers were in Las Vegas for Luc Robitaille’s celebrity poker tournament. They kicked it off with a pre-party at Studio 54 where participants could meet their favorite Kings or Avalanche players and try to win an autographed jersey in the silent auction.
Also in attendance were former NHL players Marty McSorley, Brad Norton and Kings staff members Daryl Evans and Jim Fox. I got to chat it up with several players all asking at one point about Echoes of Hope. They were genuinely interested in why they were there and asked how they could help out in the future.
Several players from each team played in the poker tournament and for the lucky person to get them out, got awarded an autographed stick from that player. It was nice to see the turn out for the event. So many fans stayed to watch the entire tournament, which lasted past 1am. Jim Fox was auctioning off singed sticks from other players as well with all proceeds going to the charity.
The last NHL player left standing was Matt Greene he was 12th place, but the one to win it all was none other then “Lucky” Luc Robitaille himself. The $14,000 won by Luc was donated back to the charity. The event was a complete success with the charity getting approximately $85,000 (the final totals are still not in).
As I was watching the final participants drop off and the time fly by, all I could do was recount the evening I just had. As many of you know I’m a die-hard hockey fan so being able to talk with players that I’ve watched for years was a dream come true. But even more, seeing all these people come out to support this amazing charity was a very humbling and eye opening experience.
In times like these it’s hard to ask for donations especially when everyone is watching their budgets. That night I truly saw the beauty in human nature, that no matter what people care for one another and are willing to help out. If they couldn’t donate they asked what they could do to help.
From day one of becoming a volunteer I could sense that my life was going to change for the better and it has. I was in a place in my life that I could dedicate my free time to give back to those who needed help. I can tell you that the youths in the program will inspire you to be a better person. They, against all odds, have strived to do the best they can with little to no help at all.
I can identify with them having my own struggles in the past and present and I’m honored and proud to be a life coach/volunteer for this charity. No one knows what the future holds, me in particular, but that hasn’t changed my view on hope. I truly believe that with hope anything is possible.
If you want to know more about this charity and how you can help please go to: echoesofhope.org