Just One Example of a Life Positively Affected by CASA

When she was 8 years old, “Juliette” was removed from her home because of neglect and placed with a foster family. Within two months, Juliette had been moved to three different foster homes, including a placement with a step-parent who did not like or want her. CASA volunteer Susan was matched with Juliette to serve as an advocate who would also be a stable person in a young life that had already seen so much chaos.

Susan spent time building a strong bond with Juliette and concentrated on learning all she could about the child, her education and her family ties. Juliette was returned to her mother’s care after several months in foster care and Susan continued to see Juliette weekly. Although from the outside, the little family looked to be doing well, Susan noticed that Juliette was frequently ill and had lost weight.

Juliette’s teacher reached out to Susan with concerns about Juliette’s attendance, health and family life. Juliette’s mother also began avoiding Susan, delivering Juliette to locations other than the family home for her visits with Susan. All of these concerns were reported to child welfare workers. During this time, the mother also began having positive tests for methamphetamine. Juliette was again removed from her mother’s care to a foster home.

Susan has been Juliette’s advocate, friend and mentor for more than two years, providing ongoing support to Juliette. Juliette’s foster family is so in love with Juliette that they have decided to adopt her. Susan says, “Juliette’s future is bright because everyone, the social worker, her teacher and the foster family, worked to address Juliette’s needs as they arose.” And Juliette says, “I’m happy here and even though Susan will not be my CASA anymore, my family and I will be seeing Susan again soon, so I won’t have to say goodbye.”

From a CASA Volunteer Advocate: I Met with My Youth Today

I met with my youth today. Her birthday is this month and so is mine, so we celebrated both of our birthdays today. She made me a card and brought one flower wrapped nicely with a bow. What a special kid she is. There is nothing better than receiving a homemade gift from the heart.

She is still in school and has also gotten a part-time job. She still likes where she is living. She said she feels guilty about receiving assistance as an adult, but really is glad that it’s there for her. She also looks forward to being able to totally support herself when she is 21, but greatly appreciates the extended foster care program and the CASA program. We often talk about budgets and managing funds.

It’s funny that as it turns out she still really didn’t understand the CASA program correctly after all this time. She thought I was getting paid to see her. She didn’t know it was completely volunteer work and that I picked her specifically. She was very pleased to know this and couldn’t believe it. I guess she didn’t understand that volunteer meant you don’t get paid. So she thought I had a bunch of kids assigned to me and met with all of them and got paid to do this.
I think it’s a great quality that she can apply for jobs and get hired easily. People seem to like her and her manners are impeccable. It’s taken a while for me to break through the politeness and her feeling like she has to tell me what she thinks I want to hear. The conversations now are real and non- judgmental. In the arena of honesty is where I can be the most effective mentor. I’m so lucky to have been able to choose her.

Must! Month with Adelaida, J. Dusi, Venteux Vineyards and Tablas Creek

It’s that time of year again – December Must! Month.

For every bottle sold of Tablas Creek Vineyard wine, $1 is donated to must! charities.

And for every bottle sold at the tasting rooms of Adelaida Vineyards & Winery, J. Dusi Wines, and Venteux Vineyards $1 is donated to must! charities.

That is a BUCK A BOTTLE!  Happy holidays, happy shopping and enjoy Must! Month!