The tragic deaths of Temecula teacher Kari Parker and her infant daughter Keira Lyn have not been forgotten.
The two were killed in a car accident in 2007 and the impact of that loss is still felt by those who knew them — and even those who didn’t.
“The Kari and Keira Lyn Parker Foundation — 2K4Kids — is a family-based organization. It’s really a grass roots effort to make an impact on kids’ lives,” said spokeswoman and Director of Development Beth Soltysiak.
The foundation, now in its fifth year, provides scholarships to local high school students and is set to host a formal dinner and auction on Aug. 3 at Wilson Creek Winery to help grow the organization through donations, Soltysiak said.
Kari, a 10-year veteran educator who taught at Great Oak High School, was a beloved champion for children and learning, and a pioneering spirit who introduced AVID, a student advocacy program, into the local lexicon.
She was married to Matt Parker, a health teacher and former baseball coach at Fallbrook High School.
The foundation is a labor of love for Kari’s parents — Barb and Larry Hanson who reside in Needles, Soltysiak said.
Kari was the couple’s only daughter.
“Not only do the Hanson’s try to raise scholarship money for college-bound kids, they try to give back to teachers too,” Soltysiak said.
Several of Kari’s former colleagues and fellow college mates help run the organization, she said.
This year’s college scholarship recipients were: Cassandra Sokach from Chaparral High School, Katlin Sweeney from Great Oak High School, Maria De La Paz from Temecula Valley High School, John Fellios and Miguel Lopez both from Fallbrook High School, Colleen Malone from Temescal Canyon High School, Sara Dadafshar from San Pasqual High School and Holly Laswell from Needles High School, according to a released statement.
Auction item donations and monetary gifts of any size are currently being accepted.
Tickets to the event are still available and can be purchased online at 2k4kids.org.
Soltysiak said: “We want our local kids to thrive in their educational experience. We cannot achieve these goals without the continued support from local businesses and individuals.”
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.