“To know that you’re home, it changes your life”

Theo Martin runs Island Soul, a restaurant in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood. It’s a family affair, sparked by his father’s earlier business venture, and now carried on by Theo’s son and daughter.

RUNTIME: 4:19
Theo Martin talks about the importance of a forever family and giving back to the community in this video.
 
RUNTIME: 4:19
Theo Martin talks about the importance of a forever family and giving back to the community in this video.
His journey to becoming the head of a thriving family business had a rocky start, as he bounced from foster home to foster home as a young boy. Theo was among the first children that Casey Family Programs worked with when the foundation was created in 1966. That’s how he met his forever family, who legally adopted him on his graduation day.

“To be permanent in a family … it allowed me to grow the most,” said Theo, who recently joined a Casey Family Programs event recognizing our 50th anniversary. “To bounce from house to house, I never knew what was going on, I didn’t trust people. To go somewhere and know that you’re home, it changes your life.”

After college and many years of working for Nordstrom, Theo eventually took over his father’s barbecue soul food restaurant, then opened his own place.

Theo and his wife also founded and currently run Northwest Industrial Staffing, an agency that provides career opportunities at organizations and businesses across the greater Seattle area.

And he volunteers his time in the community.

“Growing up in foster care, I wanted to grow up and give as much as I could to other kids. As a parent, I feel that my job is to give the kids all the tools to be an adult.”

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