Teen's mission to help foster kids inspires Santa Fe inn

Posted at: 09/30/2013 9:28 AM
By: Heather Mills, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Brianna Swinderton's mission is to help children in foster care.
Brianna Swinderton's mission is to help children in foster care.

SANTA FE -- A teenager's mission and project to help others in the community continues, nearly two years after she began.

We first introduced you to Brianna Swinderton in April 2011. With the help of the Girl Scouts, she's helping children in foster care. Now her idea continues to thrive with the help of community members. People like Joe Bravo, the human resources coordinator at the Inn & Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe.

"If you can just make a difference in one child, that's all you need," Bravo said. "Part of our brand promise is to honor the community."

But it's more than that. Bravo said he and his colleagues have a soft spot in their hearts for children. "As a child, I certainly didn't have everything, but I had the basics."

That's why he was moved to help Brianna Swinderman and her philanthropic endeavor, "Bags of Hope." Brianna said, "I just want to inject hope into people."

She's collecting luggage to distribute to CYFD and Haven House.

"It's bad enough that children are in foster care, but to make it worse sometimes they have to go from one home to another," Bravo said.

These bags provide kids with a way to carry to their items--a little something that belongs to them--when they're forced to leave in a hurry. Bravo said, "Just thinking that there's going to be smiles on children's faces, they're going to receive a bag, of self-worth, self-entitlement."

The Inn & Spa at Loretto reached out for help on Facebook and in no time, they had 40 bags. Sandy Morello with the Inn & Spa said, "I remember counting the bags with Joe. We were ecstatic. It was really great."

Brianna said all the bags received in Santa Fe, will stay in Santa Fe. Now she can continue her mission to help the children in need.

"This is just our little contribution to a big problem, but it's our heartfelt contribution," Bravo said. He says he doesn't see himself as a hero, that he just wants to help, one child at a time.