2023 Give Hope Award: Anita Howton
Anita became acquainted with the world of foster care when her daughter tragically passed away and her infant grandson needed a permanent resource. At the time, Anita’s grandbaby, born prematurely weighing 1.1 and a half pounds, had been in the NICU at Children’s Hospital for 4 months due to his serious medical needs. Anita was living her life: working her job, going to church and spending time with her family and friends. When she was asked to be the permanent care provider for her grandson, her entire life changed in an instant. Despite this, Anita has never wavered in her decision to put her life on hold for that of her grand baby’s. She tells everyone that his coming into her life was and is, a blessing. In agreeing to care for her grandson, it is Anita’s hope to provide him with the best possible life he could ever have. In conversations with Anita she is always hoping and planning for her grand baby’s future. She hopes that he is healthy, happy and successful. With Anita’s continued love, guidance and care, it is certain that her grandson will grow up to attain all the hopes and dreams that Anita has for him.
Anita describes her grandson as her late daughter's "legacy". It is the exchange of hope shared between Anita and her grandson during this incredibly difficult time that made it clear that Ms. Anita should be the recipient of Gateway’s 2023 "Give Hope" award.