Stories of Hope
Our hope is that the following stories will give you a better idea of the role of the CASA and the difference a CASA volunteer can make in the life of a child. Names and photos have been changed, the stories have not.
The Heart of the Matter
“I thought I’d share a CASA experience with you that I found interesting. I am advocating for five-year-old twins whose Father is out of the picture and whose Mother has a mix of issues from drug use to domestic violence from her boyfriend. These little girls are the prettiest little darlings. They also have a one year old sister whose Father is incarcerated.
I went to visit them at their relative placement home the other day. It was a nice day and they were outside riding bikes when I arrived. They had some sidewalk chalk so I had them lie down on the driveway and hold hands. I traced both of them. I then gave chalk to each of them and told them to fill in the details. The very first thing they did was draw hearts on their chests . . . then they filled in their noses, eyes, etc. I was astonished that they drew hearts as most children draw the obvious details that we see.
This still brings goose bumps to me and perhaps says a lot for the care they are receiving in the placement home as well as the counseling they have been receiving. It was a very cool experience for me and I wanted to share it.”
Teen Makes Her Day
“Hello CASA Staff- I had a great weekend. I visited with my CASA teen, Jamel.
I saw him on Friday and he informed me that he was leading an AA/NA meeting at Bassett House on Saturday morning. Of course I jumped at the chance to be there for him! He did an awesome job telling his story to the teens currently placed at Bassett. He spoke for over an hour telling his story of a life of drugs and his story of recovery. He did a great job incorporating some of the 12 Steps into his talk. He brought me to tears more than once, even though I knew his story. This was his 1-year anniversary of sobriety . . . what a way to celebrate.”
My Hero Isn’t Superman Anymore
The following is a school paper written by a young man about his CASA Volunteer, Tracy:
“My teacher asked our class, “Who is your hero?” When I was little, my hero was Superman and the Hulk. But now, my hero is a lady that loves me all the time. Tracy had to come to my house because my mom wasn’t home at night.
Tracy came to my school last year, and we talked in the office. Tracy told me that she was going to do everything to help me. I didn’t not like her, and I didn’t like her. She kept coming over to my granny’s house and talking to me and my brother.
I told her I liked basketball. For my birthday, she got me a basketball. She played basketball with me and my brother. We won. She is okay, but we are better. But Tracy always throws the ball far. My brother likes football, and she got him one for his birthday. She played football with us too. She beat us at football. She really likes football a lot.
We went to a basketball camp, and Tracy came and watched us. She took lots of pictures of us, too. That was fun because she gave us some of those pictures. I have one of me and her and my brother on my dresser.
Tracy always tells me to do my best. She calls me a lot, too. She comes to my school sometimes to have lunch with us. And at recess, she races us – we always beat her. Sometimes I let her win because I like her. Tracy hugs me all the time. I like it, and Tony does too.
My hero is not Superman anymore. Me and Tommy both think Tracy is our hero. She loves us all the time. She does not lie to me, and she tells us the truth.
I hope Tracy wins the hero story because I want her to win. My granny says if she does not win, that is okay because she still loves us.”
Note to Robert from his teacher:
“Robert, Tracy sounds like a wonderful hero! You and Tommy are very lucky to have her in your life. This is an awesome paper.”
Cal and the School Move That Wasn’t
CASA volunteers Connie and Pam have been co-CASAs for Cal since 2006. The Agency has had permanent custody of him since he was 10. Cal was placed in two pre adoptive homes, but both disrupted and Cal returned to foster care four years after entering the system. Despite disrupting, one positive came out of the second pre-adoptive placement; that family had enrolled Cal in an excellent Charter school that was a perfect match for his special needs. After returning to foster care, the new Foster Mother decided she couldn’t provide transportation for Cal to and from the Charter school and wanted him moved to a public school in her neighborhood. The Agency who held custody of Cal agreed and decided to remove Cal from the Charter school.
The CASA volunteers knew this child as well, if not better, than anyone else on the case. The CASAs objected and asked the Agency to find alternative transportation. The Agency declined, stating that no transportation was available. Knowing this Charter school provided something very special for this troubled child, the CASA’s asked the CASA Office for assistance. This request was not made lightly. Connie had been a CASA for 25 years and had asked for attorney assistance only once. Pam had been a CASA for 9 years and had never had an attorney to represent her.
To say they felt strongly about the Charter school being in Cal’s best interests is an understatement. A motion was filed on behalf of the CASA volunteers, and the Agency was ordered to keep Cal in his Charter school for the time being. Pam and Connie immediately went to work looking for transportation for Cal that would both accommodate him and meet with Agency approval. They found that the TARPS bus system transported some other children in the school. Two months later Cal was approved for TARPS transportation without ever having to leave the school that met his needs. Cal is 15-years-old now and his CASA volunteers continue to advocate for him.
CASA volunteer Deb had a CASA teenager on her new case. In getting to know her, Deb learned that they had both read the book, “IT” by David Pilsner and both had liked it a lot. The CASA thought she’d check out if the author had any speaking engagements coming up in the area so she and her CASA teen could go together. She called him and found out he wasn’t speaking anywhere nearby, but when she explained the situation, author Pilsner autographed his entire series of books and sent them to the CASA teen.
Columbo and Klusoe Got Nothin’ on CASA
CASA John is a private detective in real life. Occasionally that comes in handy in his CASA work. Mother wanted reunification with her young daughter. John was very worried because Mother had married a registered sex offender while the case was ongoing, but she now claimed she wasn’t living with him. Mother gave John a copy of her lease to prove it. A short time later, John saw Mother on the 11 p.m. TV news after an apartment complex fire.
On television Mother stated to the cameras that she was awakened in the middle of the night, but managed to escape. John obtained the TV footage from Harris News Service showing the Hidden Cove apartment fire. He already had proof that her husband, the sex offender, lived there. After confronting Mother with the pictures of her TV appearance, Mother admitted she had given him a fraudulent lease and agreed to the CASA’s plan for the child.