Chargers' Donnie Edwards hosts benefit gala

San Diego Chargers' linebacker and former foster youth DONNIE EDWARDS will host the first annual Child Abuse Prevention Foundation's fall gala this Friday (October 8) at the Hall of Champions in Balboa.  The gala -- entitled "Chefs and Champions for Kids" --will highlight local restaurants, athletes and community champions who support the thousands of abused children living in San Diego.  

Approximately 7,000 children in San Diego County are in the foster care system.  Each year, between 375 and 400 foster teenagers "age out" of the system at age 18 to begin life on their own. 

 "Having grown up in San Diego's foster care system, I understand the importance of raising awareness, as well as funds, to help children in our community who are suffering from abuse and neglect," says Donnie Edwards, honorary chair of the Chefs and Champions for Kids event.  "It is important that each of us invest in providing a brighter future for San Diego's most vulnerable – our children."

The Child Abuse Prevention Foundation (CAPF), founded in 1981, is a non-profit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of child abuse through prevention, education, advocacy and funding.  CAPF has raised more than $20 million in the fight against child abuse in San Diego. 

Proceeds from the gala directly benefit the critical programs aimed at helping children in San Diego County. 

In 2002, Edwards founded the Donnie Edwards Best Defense Foundation as an umbrella organization that allows him to support a variety of causes that are important to him, including the Boy Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs, San Diego's Sharp Hospital and Read Across America. 

Edwards also is the executive commissioner of the San Diego chapter of the "After-School All-Stars," a program created by California Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER to give inner-city youth positive alternatives to drugs, gangs and violence through after-school programs. 

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