NEW ORLEANS — Brooke Posey lived life to the fullest. She was happiest jumping horses and spending time with her family. But a tragic car accident took her life months before her high school graduation.
"Brooke was, oh my gosh, I would describe her as having one of the biggest hearts of anybody I have ever met," said her mom Marie Rudd-Gregory.
Marie has kept her memory alive with little acts of kindness, like leaving small cards places with 'little happys.'
"On Brooke's birthday, I would go buy cards to a local coffee shop, and I'd leave them with the barista to hand out randomly throughout the day," Marie said.
One day Marie was on social media, and she came across the story of Bella. Bella is a little girl from Kentucky who put together 'birthday parties in a box' for classmates who couldn't afford the celebratory essentials.
Marie reached out and got Bella's blessing to duplicate the idea here in Louisiana.
"It just seemed to bring everything Brooke loved together. It brought birthdays and family and children and helping just all in one big thing. And we knew from the very beginning in 2017 that we wanted to do something lasting just to carry her life forward. When this came in 2019, I just knew in my heart that it was right," Marie said.
Marie started by putting together twenty birthday boxes for what would have been Brooke's 20th birthday. She took them to Hope House to deliver to kids in the foster care system -- and the rest is history. The "Brooke It Forward Foundation" was born. Volunteers help by hosting parties to put the boxes together. There are plenty of kids in need of a little bit of joy!
The foundation currently serves six children's advocacy centers spanning 17 parishes in south Louisiana, with the goal of one day serving all of the state's advocacy centers.
"This box has gone to a 3-year-old little girl and 17-year-old young man, and both loved the boxes. It's not about what's in the box. It's that somebody said,hey, today is about you. That touches me to know we're making a difference in that way," Marie said.