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StarBulletin.com

Actors reach out to foster kids


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POSTED: Thursday, December 10, 2009

Robert Parks-Valletta and Hannah Cornett are using their Christmas funds this year to help local foster kids. The pair of actors organized the Tag the World Celebrity Triathlon and red carpet luau back in August, an event during which foster children were paired with celebrities and had an opportunity to race, receive gear, train and participate in the luau. Now, the two are aiming to help these same kids by delivering some holiday cheer.

“;We are doing a toy drive in L.A. and will fly back into town and bring gifts,”; Cornett said. “;Our hope is that we could ask for people's kokua in making this a truly memorable holiday for these kids. Their stories are brutal, most of them are under the age of 16 and have been forced through several homes, suffered all forms of abuse, poverty and loss. I've never heard a complaint, though. They're an inspiration.”;

Parks Valletta co-founded the nonprofit organization, Tag the World, with Cornett, after spending time trying to create awareness for his brother, who has DiGeorge syndrome. “;He basically had a heart defect—had to have 9 open surgeries by the time he was 9 years old. My brother is 16 now, a sophomore in high school. He's my hero.”; The organization's purpose is to help establish charities for five main causes: Africa aid, cancer research, global green, children and animals.

Anyone who wants to drop off donations of new toys or gift cards for the foster kids should bring them to the Waikiki Parc Hotel between Dec. 13 and 14. The gifts will be delivered by Cornett and Parks-Valetta to foster homes or at special holiday gatherings.

They also will be helping an emergency foster shelter that has served 200 children.

Their stories are heartbreaking, Cornett said. Eleven-year-old Fabian shared his story with her: “;One day a social worker came and took me away from my mom. I was 6. I have a brother and sister in separate homes,”; he said. “;My dad is in jail again. When they took me, I was sad. I didn't eat and was put in a hospital till I got better. I cried a lot.”;

Donations of new toys or gift cards can be dropped off at the Waikiki Parc Hotel all day on Dec. 13 and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 14. Valet service will hold all cars making drop-offs. Checks can also be made payable to: Tag the World Charity. For more information on the organization, visit www.tagtheworld.com.