“When I was going through so many placements, failing in school and left in the children's shelter for 5 months, I never thought I was going to leave. The only person that visited me was my CASA. She made me feel better every time I would see her. Having a CASA means someone will always have your back, they will not judge you. They just show up. CASA gave me hope. My CASA helped build a team at school to improve my grades and my behavior. My CASA taught me that I was the most important person on my team! Thanks to the CASA program, I am ready to succeed in school and life. ”
Now a high school graduate, Madison bravely and generously shared her story with a group of CASA supporters as their special guest speaker at the 2017 CAPC Golf Classic. “My mom died when I was 7-years-old and I went to live with my grandma. After living with her for 5 years, Child Protective Services removed me from my grandma's care. I was placed in foster care at the age of 12 and the judge appointed me a CASA. Cathy has done so much for me – being the most consistent and reliable adult in my life while I've been in so many different placements – more than I can count, but well over 15. During a 5 month stay at the Children's shelter, the only person who visited me was Cathy.
She gives me HOPE.
To me, a CASA means someone who will have your back. Being moved around from home to home and in so many different schools, I had a tough time focusing. They put me on a special needs bus. I couldn't think straight. Cathy made 'TEAM MADISON' happen and my life started to change. In 8th grade, when I had no hope at all for my future, Cathy made sure I had an IEP (Independent Education Plan) in place. I now have a 2.9 GPA and a drive to succeed in school. I have goals of my own now – to become a veterinarian and a CASA. It feels SO good knowing someone out there has my back (Cathy) and doesn't judge me.”
~ Madison Staples – CASA child
“Life is not fair to these kids. They did not pick their circumstances but are victims of a lot of trauma. When they get a CASA, they are finally heard and noticed. Walking side-by-side, week by week , seeing the potential and the growth of these kids is important work for me personally. CASA has provided me with the training and resources to help Madison find her own voice, filled with confidence. Being a part of this transition has been a blessing. Madison now has her OWN voice.”
~ Cathy SooHoo, CASA
Child Advocates of Placer County is recruiting Court Appointed Special Advocates on an ongoing basis and they are also working on launching a brand new program called BRITE (Building Renewed Insight Through Empowerment). The BRITE Advocate will work with youth who are sex trafficking victims. These children need to feel that they have options in their lives in order to have their needs met. Without options, youth often feel that involvement in this lifestyle is the only way to get what they need even though they know the situation is not the best or safest for them. Youth involved in CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) need a supportive, nonjudgmental adult in their life to meet them where they are at, role model healthy mature relationships with same and opposite sex, and show them that they have a safe place to return to. It is important to help build a sense of community between the youth and the volunteer, as connection and “sense of family” is important in growth and making true change happen in their lives. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about getting involved.