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'I had hope': Vancouver woman pays it forward to local foster kids

Chrissy Moe grew up in and out of foster care. Now, the Vancouver realtor is giving back by fundraising for non-profit Bridge the Gap.

VANCOUVER, Wash — Chrissy Moe is a busy mom of two and a realtor for Bella West Coast Properties. It’s a life that she’s worked hard to build.

“It starts with my daughters and giving them stability and a loving, kind, structured home,” she said. “And to be able to extend it into the community – I’m just so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do that.”  

As part of her work as a realtor, she founded Bella Soul Mission as a way to pay it forward for all the help and hope she received when she was growing up.

Right now she's raising money for Bridge the Gap, a community outreach program supporting the more than 1,500 children in the foster care system in Clark, Cowlitz, and Skamania Counties

“My family really struggled. I was in foster care a few times,” she said. “Very frequently, when I was with one particular parent, we ended up homeless quite a bit.”

She was in and out of homelessness and foster care for much of her childhood and teen years. 

“When I was 17, I had my first daughter, Brittany, and she and I went into a foster home that was facilitated by the Boys and Girls Aid,” she said.

It’s there where Moe was connected to resources and programs that offered mentorship and skills training. She said those opportunities changed her life.

“It was essentially a non-residential job corps program that taught me how to file and do data entry and answer phone calls and essentially become employable,” Moe said.

They helped her get into stable housing and onto a path forward.

“It’s because of the mentors that held my hand through the process, especially job core, I had a lot of mentors that really lead the way to believe that I had the ability to have a better future, because at that point it just seemed very bleak to me,” Moe said. “I had hope, but I didn’t see an avenue and so, I had a lot of mentors in that program that really gave me hope.”

Bridge the Gap supports foster youth by paying for enrichment activities that kids need to learn and grow. Things like tutoring, athletic programs, music, dance, and more.

“The state doesn’t pay for everything. Foster parents often are people who don’t have significant means either, but they have big hearts. They’re [Bridge the Gap] there to support the kids the way they can, but they need somebody else to come along with a checkbook and say here are the funds that you need to succeed,” Bridge the Gap Co-chair Jane Stinson said.

“I really feel like everyone needs a cheerleader in their lives, somebody who is ‘You got this. You’re strong. You’re brave.’ All those kinds of things,” Stinson said. “And I think coaches and mentors and tutors are a big part of that.”

Chrissy held an online fundraiser during the holidays that, with help from the community, brought in more than $2,000 to help Bridge the Gap continue its mission, but she’s not done yet.

“It’s hard to put into words the gratitude that I hold to be able to be the person that I wish that I had when I was very young and to help to become that person that those mentors were to me,” Moe said.

She’s opened up another fundraiser and raffle online. It’s going on right now through Jan. 31.

Donate now on Facebook or GoFundMe.

Bridge the Gap also has a number of fundraising events coming up this year learn more about their mission and how to get involved at www.bridgethegapforkidscc.org.

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