When the world lost Katie Trent, it lost someone who dedicated her life to helping others no matter how difficult the work was.
Now her family is keeping her work going and her memory alive with a fund to help children in foster care.
Katie died in a car accident in June 2020, not long after she began her journey of fostering children.
Donating to Katie's Kids helps make sure children in foster care have what they need to live healthy and happy lives. That was a goal Katie’s parents, Mike and Joyce Trent, said was close to Katie’s heart.
Katie was born and raised in North Alabama. When she was 16 and went on a summer mission trip to the Philippines, she got bitten by the mission bug and the next summer, she was in Puerto Rico doing church work — helping people who needed it most.
“She’s done this her whole life,” said her mother, Joyce Trent. “She was like that when she came out of the womb.”
After high school, Katie went to the University of Alabama Birmingham and got a psychology degree. During that time, she worked at a home where people who had rocky relationships could come and stay safe.
“Even then, Katie always loved people that were just a little bit downtrodden,” Joyce said.
After college, her parents said she didn’t know what she wanted to do, so she decided to go into the International Mission Board’s 2-year journeyman program. From there, she went to Guatemala for language training and then to Colombia, where she worked with children in soccer camps and shared the gospel.
After finishing her mission work, Katie came back to the States and wasn’t sure what was next. She settled on getting a master of divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, and then came back to North Alabama to help out with the family business.
Katie also connected with Kids to Love and spent time at Davidson Farms, the nonprofit’s foster home for girls located in Madison County, working with the girls there and taking them to and from school.
Eventually, Katie got a job as a program analyst at System Studies and Simulation, working at Redstone Arsenal. But she still wanted to be connected to the foster world — she wanted to take care of children.
Katie was not married, but she bought a four-bedroom home with the goal of filling it with foster children. She became certified as a foster parent and opened her home. She fostered children of all ages, including a pregnant teenager at one point.
It was a difficult task, but her parents said she was determined.
“When she started investigating this and started the actual training to be certified as a foster parent, we weren’t very knowledgeable about it and it just seemed overwhelming,” said her father, Mike Trent.
Once she began fostering, her parents saw the dedication she had to helping the children in her care, and how important it was to her that the children be reconnected with their families whenever possible. On one occasion, Katie had a 2-year-old in her care; when it was time to reunite the child with family, she had the whole family over for dinner.
“She Facetimed with the moms and parents when she was allowed to,” Mike said. “She was always connected with the families just as much as the children.”
Katie was able to help children and their families for about seven months after becoming a foster parent.
Then, she was gone.
“We’re all thankful she got to experience all that, even if just for a short time," Joyce said. “And it’s made all our family more aware and given us a mission to work together.”
In her memory, her brother, David, put on a concert with the goal of giving proceeds to foster agencies and nonprofits. The concert was more successful than they ever imagined it would have been, and they reached out to Katie’s foster community contacts to share.
Katie’s Kids was born, and now Kids to Love and various other foster organizations are seeing the benefits. Her father said she would be thrilled to see what’s happening in her name, but she would give all that glory to God.
“She would be shocked and excited, but she’d also be very modest,” Mike said. “She would want none of the glory for this.”
Giving to Katie’s Kids at Kids to Love will help foster children who come into care with very little of their own. Many times, children come into care with the clothes on their backs and nothing else — and often, those clothes need replacing as well. Katie’s Kids will support Kids to Love’s goal of making sure children have everything they need to live happy and successful lives.