International Icon Princess Sarah Culberson Reveals How Her Foster & Adoptive Parents Changed Her Life, Delivers an Inspiring Message to Trinity Youth Services’ Foster Parents and Foster Youth 

Princess Sarah
Princess Sarah

Princess Sarah

Princess Sarah Culberson is an African princess whose inspiring life story has touched the lives of millions around the world. After learning about Trinity Youth Services’ mission to create better futures for foster youth, she sent a very motivational message for potential and current foster parents as well as foster youth, stating, “My foster parents made such a huge impact in my life.” To hear more of Princess Sarah’s message, watch the video below. 

A renowned dancer, actress, philanthropist, educator, motivational speaker, and author, Princess Sarah was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, to an African father and a Caucasian mother. She was placed in foster care as an infant, and was adopted by a loving Caucasian family one year after her first birthday. 

Princess Sarah’s adoptive family showered her with unconditional love and support throughout her childhood, and took a very active role in her life. According to Princess Sarah, “They were just extremely checked in, saw my skills and talents and supported those and with anything that was challenging to me, they helped me figure it out and supported me as well. They noticed that I was a great dancer, athlete, that I loved acting, singing, enjoyed performing etc., and loved and supported me. 

“I didn’t like math, so my dad would help me for hours every week. They were so checked in as parents which was extraordinary. My mom wanted to make sure I didn’t always feel different, and so as a girl with all this afro hair, she learned how to braid, take care of my hair which was different, and she knew that was important for me as well. The actions they took spoke volumes. Even though elementary and middle school were not as diverse, the university where my dad was a professor was diverse with Dr. Hilluala from India, Professors from Thailand, which allowed me to be in contact with more diverse people, which I loved seeing as a child.” 

According to Princess Sarah, some of the most important things her parents taught her were “to go after my dreams. My dad loved that I loved acting. His dream was to be a performer, and he’s a scientist. He’s a neuroanatomist who teaches doctors to save lives, but he’s always loved the arts. They took me to shows which inspired me and admired how dedicated I was. It meant so much to me that they saw it, supported, and helped me cultivate it as opposed to questioning if I was going to be able to make money off of it. I was also so respected, and in turn, respected them so much. I was taught through respect. I learned respect by example.” 

Although she dearly loved her adopted family, Princess Sarah wanted to know about who she was and where she came from. With support from her adoptive parents, she found her birth father at the age of 28. In 2004, Princess Sarah and her adoptive parents traveled to Sierra Leone to meet her birth father and family. After meeting him and her African family, she learned that she was the child of a Paramount Chief, which gave her the official title of being an African Princess. 

When visiting her father and her African family, Princess Sarah learned other essential information about her ancestry. “I’ve learned that I look like my grandmother, and I look like my father. I have his eyes. I’m also part of the Mende tribe, and I’m part of a history of leaders who are in my blood who propel me forward and ancestors who do the same. I’ve learned that to be a royal family in a developing country can be extremely challenging when there is great need, and it’s still important to move forward to be the best people we can be in order to help everyone.” 

Princess Sarah

Meeting her biological father and family in Sierra Leone, and learning about her princess status gave Princess Sarah a new mission in life, and it changed her priorities.  

According to Princess Sarah, “Many things that used to stress me out have no space anymore. The things we’re working on in Sierra Leone as a family, community, and country are so much bigger than my day-to-day issues that I feel propelled forward to handle our bigger goals to clean drinking water, solar lanterns, and sustainability in the country of Sierra Leone.”

Princess Sarah did not adopt the traditional meaning of being a princess. In fact, she has used her title to enhance the world around her, especially in Sierra Leone. According to Princess Sarah, “I wasn’t interested in embracing the title for how it’s meant in the world as a whole, specifically in America, but as I started to learn about the role inside of our community in Sierra Leone, and how Princess means responsibility to me, it’s shifted me to think about my priorities and responsibility and commitment that I have to our community and family in Sierra Leone.” 

Although Princess Sarah was able to reconnect with her biological father and family, she understands the pain that some adopted children may feel when they aren’t able to have a relationship with their biological families. Her message to youth is, “Placing your child in another family is extremely challenging for birth parents, and even though it can make you feel unwanted maybe, actually it’s a selfless act that can give you to a family who can take care of you and give you what you need. I wasn’t able to meet my birth mother, but I know she is still a part of me. She passed away before I had the chance to meet her. Your birth parents are a part of you, and they’re guiding you along your journey whether you know it or not or ever need them. You’re not alone.” 

When asked what the most important needs adoptive children have, and how can their adoptive parents best support them, Princess Sarah suggests that the most important things are “LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Support, guidance, and safety. Knowing that you’re there and cared about. Often, adopted children think that they’re not wanted, or something’s wrong with them, and that can make them feel like they’re not enough. Take the time to remind them that they’re enough, amazing people, and just reminding them of that can make a huge difference.” 

For parents who may want to raise biracial children, Princess Sarah provides this advice: “Have people in your community who are also biracial so the children can see themselves represented, and have people of color in your community as well. When and if your child chooses to find their biological family, some day, try your best to do work on yourself to be ok with that, and please be open to that journey with them. They only want to find a deeper meaning to themselves and it’s not meant to hurt you, even if it might feel like it.” 

A published author who’s featured in the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, BBC radio, NPR, “Oprah and Friends” radio show, and in magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, People, and Glamour, Princess Sarah has also appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Inside Edition, and more.  

Her memoir, A Princess Found: A Journey Through Adoption, War, and Forgiveness, contains a profound message that readers can apply to their lives. According to Princess Sarah, the main message she wants readers to learn is, “Don’t let anger and fear stop you from going after what you want. It’s so much easier to hold onto that anger, and when I let go standing in a raw and fearful place then stepped into being courageous, loving and open, I received a lot more information that helped me understand who I am. Facing that fear and stepping into it really helped me find my purpose. And sometimes, we don’t even know how those things will show up when we’re afraid, but there can be so much beauty on the other side.” 

Princess Sarah is the co-founder of the nonprofit, Sierra Leone Rising to support rebuilding education, public health, and female empowerment in Sierra Leone. According to Princess Sarah, “People can donate to sierraleonerising.org, other organizations doing work in Sierra Leone to help the country move forward after an 11-year Blood Diamond War & multiple pandemics. It takes a period of time to rebuild after all of that to restore the community, donate to organizations that you feel are good and do work in Sierra Leone,” she says.

“In Sierra Leone, we’re building a number of wells to help people in the provinces receive access to clean drinking water sources, supplying sanitary pads to women and girls to combat period poverty, and distributing solar lanterns to supply families with sustainable light sources.” 

In addition to her work in Sierra Leone, Princess Sarah is also currently working on a film with Disney and Stephanie Elaine (The First African-American Woman to Co-Produce the 2020 Oscars), an animation with singer-songwriter, producer and entrepreneur Randy Jackson, a Roblox game with Melon Development, and a TV series with Good Story Entertainment.

For more information about Princess Sarah, please visit her website or find her on Facebook or Instagram.

If you want to foster or adopt a child, please call or text Eve Powers at 310-291-3889 to learn more about how you can qualify to become a resource parent. To get started online, click here!


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

AJ Johnson

AJ JohnsonThere are currently over 30,000 foster youth in LA County who are waiting to be paired with a loving, forever family. After hearing the devastating news about some of the struggles foster youth face, Hollywood TV and Film StarAJ Akua Johnson, decided to send a heartfelt message to inspire youth at Trinity Youth Services. In her powerful video message, AJ tells youth, “Please keep dreaming. Please know that you are bigger and better than what your background has been. 

A highly sought-after actress, choreographer, speakerlife coach and fitness trainer whose notable client roster includes Stevie Wonder, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Lindsay Lohan, and Gabrielle Union, AJ lives and breathes health and wellness, and has used the tragic loss of both of her parents at a young age to help others heal their lives from the inside out. 

A former Miss Maroon & White (Morehouse College) and the first Miss Collegiate Black America, AJ has appeared in a number of television series, and feature films, including House Party, Skin Deep, The Inkwell, Assassins (with Sylvester Stallone), Dying Young (with Julia Roberts), Sister Act (with Whoopi Goldberg), John Singleton’s critically acclaimed feature Baby Boyand most recently, TV One’s Sins of the Father, ALL BLACK’s Stuck with You and many others. 

Due to AJ’s passion for transforming lives, and for smashing negative stereotypes about women, off and on the big screen, AJ has appeared in national and international publications including Vogue, Women’s Health, Self, Essence, Sister 2 Sister, In Style, Black Health, Monarch, Vibe, Us Weekly, In Touch, and Black Sophisticates Hair  

A multi-talented and beloved celebrity, AJ has hosted and produced shows for television and radio, as well as created a wellness segment for VH1’s current hit Couples Retreat, WE Channel’s Savvy, hosted VH1’s reality fitness competitionFrom Flab to Fab, and TV Guide Network’s Hollywood Bodies. AJ has also been a regular guest expert on national shows such as, The Wendy Williams Experience, and Baisden After Dark and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. 

An unforgettable Hollywood trailblazer who is showing women all over the country who they can become at any age, AJ has no plans of slowing down, and continues to add to her long list of accomplishments in Hollywood while spreading love, joy and hope to all who cross her path. 

For more information about AJ’s latest projects, visit her website or Instagram page. Thank you to AJ Johnson for being part of Trinity’s Celebrity Love Project, sharing love and encouragement to children in foster care. If you are interested in learning about Trinity’s foster care and adoption programs, click here or contact us at 909-825-5588 Ext. 230 or email epowers@TrinityYS.org


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Trinity Youth Services has teamed up with undefeated Four-Time World Champion, Laila Aliwho is passionate about empowering youth and helping them become winners in life. After learning about Trinity Youth Services’ Celebrity Love Project, Laila was thrilled to donate her book, Reach 

According to Laila“I’m donating my book Reach! Finding Strength, Spirit and Personal Power to the Celebrity Love Project because I know it will reach those who can benefit from it the most. I wrote Reach! with young girls in mind in hopes that it will offer them guidance and inspiration to find the power within!” 

The daughter of the late boxing icon and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali, Laila is the most successful female boxer of all time. Currently the host of Emmy Award Winning show, Home Made Simple, on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Laila has taken fitness to a new level through the Laila Ali Lifestyle, which she says is “A way of life that is all about being authentic and consistently doing the work that it takes to improve yourself by replenishing your health, replenishing your mindset, and replenishing your purpose.” She coaches thousands of people on their health and wellness journey and helps them become the best version of themselves. 

In Reach, a gripping and inspiring true story about her life, Laila imparts the wisdom shes learned throughout her toughest years growing up, surviving abuse and how she transformed her life. IReach!, Laila writes “Success is about staying focused. Never quitting. Overcoming obstacles. Obstacles will inevitably appear, but if you’re sure of what you’re doing and steady in your pursuit, you will overcome them. The strength of your conviction will knock them down.”  

If you are interested in helping foster youth thrive and overcome trauma, contact Eve Powers at epowers@trinityys.org or 909-825-5588 ext. 230, to schedule a free Foster Parent Orientation. 


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Jen Lilley

Film and TV star, Jen Lilley, has a long list of accomplishments that include being seen by millions on the Academy Award-winning film, “The Artist,” NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” ABC’s “General Hospital,” and many more.

Jen Lilley Adoption Day

A leading lady on the Hallmark Channel, Lilley is a devoted foster and adoptive mom, loving wife, and revered children’s advocate who donated 100% of the proceeds from her first single, King of Hearts, to help a child named John receive lifesaving heart surgery through Project Orphans.

A celebrity ambassador for the child abuse and treatment organization, Childhelp, The Dave Thomas Foundation, Children of the Night, and many others, Lilley is passionate about protecting children against physical and sexual abuse, human trafficking, and the world water crisis. She lends her talent to make a positive impact in the lives of youth and won the National Educators Award for assisting underprivileged children in Guatemala.

Although Lilley’s professional accomplishments are indeed impressive, she holds being a foster and adoptive mom, very close to her heart. Despite being an in-demand actress and singer, Lilley still makes time in her hectic schedule to be an active mom and encourages others to do the same. According to Lilley, “If I can foster, you can foster. You can change the world for a youth in foster care.”

To find out more about Jen Lilley, her foster care journey, and her Fostering Hope Podcast, visit her website, or follow her on Instagram. You can also connect with Jen on Twitter or on Facebook.

Jen Lilley’s Message to Those Thinking about Fostering

Trinity Youth Services has teamed up with Lilley to share the message that fostering a child is one of the most rewarding things you can do. “I want to do this my whole life. These kids are so incredible,” Lilley said. “They deserve a voice, they deserve a permanent loving family, they deserve hope.” If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent, contact Eve Powers at epowers@trinityys.org or 909-825-5588 ext. 230. Listen to Lilley’s full message:


florence-1Eve PowersFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Marla Maples

Marla Maples

Marla Maples, a celebrated humanitarian, actress, musical artist, host and in-demand speaker, was deeply moved to make a profound impact in the lives of disadvantaged youth. She recently took the time to participate in Trinity’s Celebrity Love Project in order to encourage more people to become foster parents.

“Those who choose to foster children, I believe, deserve the greatest amount of praise,” Marla said. “What a better place it would be,” she continued, if more people adopted and fostered children.

Marla has had the privilege of speaking at the United Nations, Harvard University, the 2018 Summit of Peace, and the Global Summit on Science, Spirituality, and Environment in India. Adding to her long list of accomplishments, Marla has also performed her single “One World of Love” on stage at Carnegie Hall. Her first album, The Endless featured Deepak Chopra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Michael Bernard Beckwith.

Marla has also performed in Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars, co-hosted The View, The Doctors, and Good Day New York. She also performed on Ballando Con Le Steele in Rome, Italy where the show received its highest ratings to date. Most recently, Marla can be seen on the new HBO series, The Righteous Gemstones. She also hosted a talk radio show, Awakening With Marla with specialists from the natural wellness world.

Dedicated to empowering society, Marla has been honored for her work with the Global Lyme Alliance, and remains committed to supporting a multitude of non-profit organizations including AWARENYC.org, Spirituality for Kids, and The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine. One of Marla’s greatest loves is helping others create a healthy and joyful life while continuing her steadfast mission to expand the greater good and bring more Light to the world.

For more information about Marla Maples, visit www.marlamaples.com. Marla’s album “The Endless,” with Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama and other thought leaders is available on iTunes.

See Marla’s inspiring video message about becoming a resource parent:


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.

Keke Palmer Cinderellas

Photo by Glamour

Keke Palmer is a world-renowned actress, singer, rapper, songwriter and philanthropist who has been mesmerizing audiences since making her acting debut in the 2004 film Barbershop 2: Back in Business. An in-demand legendary superstar, Keke Palmer is the youngest actress and the first African-American to portray Cinderella on Broadway. Her credits include Akeelah and the Bee, Madea’s Family Reunion, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Joyful Noise, Shrink, The Longshots, Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP, and Lifetime’s TLC biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Keke has also starred in Scream Queens, Hustlers, and many others. She is also the host of Queenpins, a new series by Facebook Watch and Glamour.

Among her many accomplishments, Keke is also the author of I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, an inspirational guide that encourages millennials to change their mindset and live with more freedom, confidence, and love as they navigate the rough terrain of the 21st century.

A passionate advocate for at-risk youth, Keke gives back to her community by representing nonprofits such as Saving Our Daughters, an anti-bullying and girl-empowerment organization. Her Saving Our Cinderellas Program is a facet of Saving Our Daughters, which is geared towards using music, theatre, film and television to help build self-esteem in girls.

Keke recently recorded a special message for Trinity Youth Service’s foster youth for the Celebrity Love Project, in which she states, “Do not let the pain from your past stop you from achieving the things you want in the future,” and other motivational words of wisdom. View the video below to hear Keke’s entire inspirational message.

For more information about Keke Palmer, visit www.kekepalmer.com, or visit twitter.com/kekepalmer or instagram.com/Keke.

Jillian “JJ” Simmons, a fifteen-year veteran radio host from Cincinnati, Ohio, is more than just another voice to fill the airwaves. As an on-air talent, she has captivated listeners from major cities from across the country, including her hometown Cincinnati (WIZF-FM), Dayton (WROU-FM), New York City (WBLS-FM, where she worked alongside “The Queen of All Media,” Wendy Williams), Indianapolis (WHHH-FM), and Houston (KBXX-FM). Over the years, JJ on the Mic has interviewed many of the rich, famous and influential, including former President Barak Obama, and she has contributed her voice of experience to the ongoing dialogue on the impact of hip hop on the American social and political landscape.

Having lost two uncles to AIDS, JJ is also a champion of AIDS education and awareness. In response to her loss, she founded the J Darcey AIDS Foundation. As part of her awareness initiative, she also founded Red Tree Tees, an apparel company which uses hip hop infused tees as a tool of activism to emphasize the importance of getting tested.

In addition to being a positive influence on people she meets through her work, JJ is a proud mother. She uses her passion for the” mommy experience” to advocate for higher quality prenatal care in underprivileged communities. Although she has always had an innate desire to empower others, raising a daughter has deepened her desire to foster change in the lives of women, and inspired her to create the I’m Me Foundation. In keeping with her mission to create opportunities for positive social interactions and character-building experiences, the I’m Me Foundation provides tools to improve the esteem and self-worth of girls and young women.

JJ has chronicled her own personal experiences from a past abusive relationship and the journey to healing in her book, “Without Bruises,” designed to give guidance to others who find themselves in harmful situations. Her “Without Bruises: Help, Hope and Heal Series” is a collection of focus groups in collaboration with Therapist and Life Coach, Wendi Johnson-Turner, taking place in Houston. She invites the public to share their stories, champion one another and get healthy tools for healing.

JJ is currently excited to be part of Trinity Youth Services’ Celebrity Love Project and share some words of encouragement for girls in foster care. In her inspiring video message, JJ says, “Whatever you are going through, whatever you have been through, does not define who you are. You are not your circumstances.” She goes on to say, “You are qualified and worthy of greatness. You are greatness.” View the full video for more inspiring words from JJ Simmons.

Photo courtesy of vibe.com

Many foster youth struggle with feelings of hopelessness, despair and low self-esteem due to trauma and neglect. In order to help youth develop and sustain a positive mindset, Trinity Youth Services recently launched The Celebrity Love Project, inspiring motivational online videos featuring famous faces and influential community leaders.

After learning about the impactful project, Hollywood actress Meagan Good (Think Like a Man, Stomp the Yard), was the first to send her inspiring message.

“Don’t ever give up on yourself because you have purpose,” Meagan says in the video to Trinity foster youth. “There’s nobody else in the world that is like you that has the purpose and calling that you have in your life.”

The campaign was inspired by the experiences of former foster youth, Florence Edwards, now a Trinity Youth Services Foster Care Marketing Specialist. Florence is passionate about finding a way to create more support for youth who struggle with the same challenges she faced.

“As a former foster youth, I was bullied several times a day, suffered from low self-worth and really didn’t have any real role models. I’ll never forget my birthday in 1990. I was harassed by my high school’s football team. The players followed me around, saying mean comments about my appearance. Needless to say, I felt as if I had a negative zero self-worth. When I arrived home, I checked the mailbox and there was a letter addressed to me, with no return address. When I opened it, it was a letter from Jada Pinkett, my all-time favorite actress! She had taken the time to write me a real letter and had even answered all of my questions,” Florence says.

“From that day forward, I kept that letter with me for years. It helped me to keep moving forward even during my darkest hours when I felt unloved and unwanted. Because of Jada’s words of encouragement, I was able to continue to do well in school and even received several awards. Her letter made me feel like I mattered, and that I had value. I want our youth [at Trinity] to experience the same joy and feelings of worthiness as I did,” Florence says. “It really made a strong impact in my life.”

For more information about Trinity Youth Services’ Celebrity Love Project, or to become a foster parent, please call 909-825-5588, ext. 230, or send an email to fedwards@TrinityYS.org.

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