Dan and Kelli Cooper’s daughter Katie was an avid reader. Growing up in Chino Hills, she always had a book in her hand. “She would tell me she couldn’t do her chores because she was busy reading,” said Kelli.
When Katie was tragically killed in the 2014 shooting at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Coopers knew they needed to do something to honor Katie’s life and keep her memory alive.
Katie’s sorority was involved in several pediatric charities. Before she passed away, Katie had mailed an annual fundraising letter to family and friends asking for book and monetary donations that would benefit a children’s charity close to her school. The letter arrived in family and friends’ mailboxes just before her memorial service, and they saw that letter as a sign to continue Katie’s book drive, says Kelli. The Coopers learned about the Family Resource Center at CHOC Children’s, and chose it as a beneficiary in order to build its library for CHOC patients and their families. Katie had spent countless hours in the library on her school’s campus as a double major studying art history and classics with a minor in archaeology.
Hundreds of people brought book donations to Katie’s memorial service, and boxes of books came flooding in to Katie’s high school. An entire classroom at the high school where Kelli works was filled with books from people who wanted to help honor Katie’s life. Even more were dropped off at the family’s home, something that continues to happen more than one year after their daughter passed away.
“As a parent, you just want to know your kids are out there in the world doing good,” says Kelli. “Through these book donations, Katie is still giving.”
To learn more about the Family Resource Center or make a donation, call 714-509-9168.