May 14 2014
By Carol Brady, CASA volunteer since 2003
About ten years ago I was an advocate for a family of children. They had a really good mother who was doing her darndest to support her children without the aid of her partner who had been banished from the home for possibly sexually harassing one of the daughters. We were never able to learn the truth about what happened, but the family was severely traumatized by the whole experience. CASA worked with the mom and the children for over a year. Late in the case we learned that Child Protective Services was going to move for removal of the children because the mother would not say that she saw her partner abusing the daughter. When the judge asked for CASA’s opinion, I told him that it would be a travesty to remove the children from their mother. They had been traumatized enough and were doing very well where they were. I also told him that this mother was working as hard as possible against all odds to provide a stable home for her kids. The judge ruled with CASA and the children stayed with their mother.
When the case was just about to end I gave the mother a silver coin bearing the image of then Pope John Paul II, now St. John Paul II. I knew that she was Catholic and it would mean something to her. Then the case was closed and I never saw the family again.
Back in November I volunteered to work at the HEB Feast of Sharing held at Palmer auditorium each year. I was working in the children’s area and I noticed a woman staring intently at me. Then I saw the children - now much older and bigger - and I recognized the mom. I ran over and we embraced, each of us with tears in our eyes. It was wonderful to see her and 3 of the kids and learn that they were all doing well. She took her billfold out of her purse and reached into it and pulled out a silver coin. She held it up and said, “Remember this? It’s my lucky charm. All these years it has brought me luck.” I went home that night with a warm feeling inside of me. It is so easy to get discouraged in this work, but we volunteers do make a huge difference in the lives of the children for whom we advocate and their families. I will keep this in mind from now on whenever I become discouraged.
CASA staff Donna Daugherty and AJ Barak with volunteer Carol Brady at our recent Closed Case Luncheon
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