Elaine spent more than fifteen years in sales and management in the medical insurance field and then became the foster mother to two teenage sons. While researching the benefits available for her foster sons, she learned that few foster youth have a trusted adult to guide and support them after foster care. Working with Co-Founder, Steve-O’Donnell, the idea was brought to the community of Unity Church of San Antonio, and they responded with overwhelming support. THRU Project was established to give foster care youth hope and resources during the most critical time of their lives. THRU Project began in September of 2011 and currently works with over 150 youth in the San Antonio and surrounding area.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Chris graduated from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and a Bachelors in Psychology. Chris has worked within the foster care system for over 11 years. His journey began working as an Investigator with Child Protective Services, and later became a Case Manager with the Preparation for Adult Living Program at BCFS. Chris understands both sides of the foster care system, once a child is removed and the time it takes to work with a youth when they are about to age out or have aged out of the foster care system. He feels very fortunate to continue to work with foster care youth and is excited to be apart of the THRU Project. Chris says, “When everyone in a foster youth’s life has given up on them, why not be that person who can make a difference.”
Aaliyah graduated from the University of Texas – San Antonio with a bachelors degree in kinesiology and a minor in business administration. She has volunteered and interned with youth diagnosed with various mental and physical disabilities which has strengthened her desire to help and serve others. As a first generation graduate, she acknowledges the challenges many teens face when endeavoring to lead a more independent life. Aaliyah is passionate about empowering others to believe in their capabilities and providing an inclusive environment for all. She believes in her purpose to level the playing field for individuals who have often been overlooked or forgotten.
Alexis graduated from Texas A&M University- College Station with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Minor in Latino and Mexican American Studies. While in school she interned with a domestic violence shelter, and with the community development department. She moved to San Antonio, where she had the opportunity to teach kindergarten. Her experiences with the kids led her to become aware of the social needs of youth in the San Antonio community. Her passion of helping others has led her to Thru Project. At Thru Project she strives to help young adults find mentors who will make a positive impact in their lives.
Gabriella began her journey with THRU Project as the Office Manager and now serves as the Fund Development Manager. While she does not have personal experience with foster care she firmly believes that everyone deserves the same opportunities to be successful in life. She started her college education at the age of 29 and was the first in her family to graduate with a college degree in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Gabriella lives by the George Eliot quote, “It’s never to late to be who you might have been.” She strives to improve not only her life, but to enrich that of those around her.
Alyssa graduated from Texas A&M University, College Station with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. While attending school, she interned with Child Protective Services and Scotty’s House, a non-profit child advocacy center. It was her work within these two organizations that solidified her desire to work with disadvantaged youth in Texas.
THRU Project has continued to nurture her passion as well as open her eyes to another specific population in need, youth in foster care. Although she hopes to eventually obtain a Master’s in Social Work, she continues to find inspiration through the opportunities THRU Project has offered her.