Nov 06 2013
“I don’t know where I would be without you. I’d probably still be on the path to jail and not college. Carolyn, I don’t think you realize how much I appreciate you!”
This was the incredibly special email I received from Michael, one of my CASA kids, who I am extremely proud to say started college this fall. I want to share some of our story with you, in hopes that you will consider supporting more kids like Michael who need a little help reaching the right path.
When I became Michael’s CASA volunteer over four years ago, his path wasn’t so positive. Michael had been in and out of the Child Protective Services system since age six and he had serious anger and behavioral issues because of it. The first time I really got to talk with him, he was in juvenile detention after an altercation with a teacher. He had never been taught to deal with conflict in a positive way. He was embarrassed and angry, yet also polite and soft spoken.
I would visit him and we’d sit and talk. He always expected negative reactions to what he shared. When I didn’t react that way he became very open with me, realizing I wasn’t there to judge him but to genuinely listen, respect him and help.
I could see he was an extremely bright young man, but I don’t think anyone had ever said anything positive to him. With his caseworker, a wonderful new foster father and me, Michael suddenly had three people in his life telling him, ‘You can do this. You can work through these anger issues and succeed.’
“She never gave up on me and always advocated for me. Others gave up on me. They saw I was doing bad things and thought I was just another bad kid, but Carolyn didn’t give up on me. That’s all I needed,” said Michael.
All children need someone who will never give up on them. That’s what CASA volunteers provide for children who’ve experienced abuse or neglect and are growing up in the foster care system.
Today I’m asking you to join me in helping children. Will you consider making a tax-deductible donation to CASA of Travis County?
In his new, stable foster home, Michael was for the first time able to go steadily to the same school. He made a wonderful group of friends, built the respect of his teachers and realized he could accomplish things that were put in front of him. He got involved in choir and joined the debate team. His whole personality changed as he grew more confident and empathetic. He really blossomed as an individual!
“Carolyn was always there when I was getting in trouble, and at the end of my sophomore year I decided I didn’t want to get in trouble anymore. After awhile it became less of her needing to call and calm me down, and more of her calling to say, ‘I’m glad you’re doing okay, let’s hang out.’ She didn’t have to be so worried about me anymore,” said Michael.
He really excelled in debate, and CASA and Child Protective Services were able to help him pay to go to two major debate tournaments, including one at Harvard University.
Michael is now in his first year of college where he’s studying political science with an interest in going to law school and maybe someday helping other children growing up in foster care. I couldn’t be more proud of him.
“I feel like my relationship with Carolyn has grown from my CASA volunteer to really good friends. I feel like we’re going to have a relationship for my whole life. I really value everything that she’s done for me,” said Michael.
Your donation to CASA is crucial to ensuring children who’ve been abused or neglected have someone to speak up for their best interest. More than 650 children like Michael didn’t have a volunteer last year, and I don’t want to let a single one of them go without the help of CASA. I hope you agree and will make a tax-deductible gift today.
CASA Volunteer since 2007
P.S. I truly hope you will consider donating to CASA this year. Your gift matters. There are so many children out there who desperately need your support.
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