Happy Match Story: Forrest and Lou

Little Brother Forrest waited 3 years for a mentor. During that time, he lived in 7 different homes, having a mother who was in and out of rehab and a father in jail. He moved from home to home with relatives, never really having anyone to depend on. Until he met Big Brother Lou. Lou, a probation officer, had seen too many young men ruin their lives with bad choices and wanted to help Forrest escape the cycle of drugs, homelessness and unemployment.

August HMSTogether, they volunteered at the animal shelter, for the Food Bank and at beach clean-ups. Forrest began to feel like he was part of the community, with something valuable to offer. Lou took Forrest to soccer games at Cal Poly and concerts at Cuesta College. Forrest loved being on campus and imagined attending college himself one day.

Now, Forrest is uncertain if his father will get paroled or if his mom will stay sober. But, he is sure Lou will be there when he graduates from high school or maybe even college. And Big Brother Lou is sure that he will.

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of both the child and volunteer

CASA Volunteers Help Foster Children Succeed in School

Teresa Tardiff, Executive Director of CASA of San Luis Obispo, wrote an excellent letter to the editor featured in the Tribune:

Back-to-school is an exciting time for students. However, for children in foster care who often change schools multiple times, there is little excitement to be had when you don’t know if you’ll be in the same school next week, next month or next year.

It is estimated that foster children move schools at least once or twice a year. These moves result in setbacks: Children in foster care are estimated to lose four to six months of academic progress with each move, causing them to fall behind, decreasing the chances they will graduate from high school — a predictor of later success in life.

Thankfully, there are people in our community who help keep foster children in the same school longer and secure the resources they need to advance academically. Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers get to know their assigned child and make recommendations in the child’s best interests to the Juvenile Court judge.

This new school year, CASA of San Luis Obispo County asks that caring, local residents come forward and become CASA volunteers to help a foster child have a stable, enriching academic experience and reach their potential.
Read more here:

foster children

Happy Match Story: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Below is a Happy Match story from Big Brothers Big Sisters in San Luis Obispo…

Greta and Carol

  • Little Sister Greta and her half-siblings were removed from their home after their parents were charged with neglect and child endangerment. The younger children were kept together, but Greta was placed in a new foster home all by herself. For six months, she barely spoke to anyone.
  • When her social worker suggested our program, Greta was reluctant, until she learned that Big Sister Carol had been a foster child too.
  • Carol understood why Greta wasn’t very talkative. She understood why Greta was having trouble focusing at school or making new friends. She understood how scared and alone Greta felt and being understood made all the difference for Greta.
  • After almost two years of being matched, Greta is getting along great with her foster parents. She has friends at school and in the neighborhood. She feels good about herself and is excited about her future.
  • Greta still misses her family, but says, “I thought a mentor was someone who told you what to do, but Carol is someone who just listens, no matter what I need to talk about. That’s how I know she really cares about me, just like a real life sister.”

Greta and Carol

*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of both the child and volunteer