Several years ago, Kym Matthews met former CASA volunteer and current Michigan CASA employee, Janice Fonger at a networking “power lunch” hosted by WGVU radio host Shelley Irwin. For Kym, this was the introduction into a community she is now passionate about.
Caroline sat in her high school counselor’s office with her hoodie pulled tightly around her face, as if it could protect her from the rest of the world. She’d experienced terrible things as a child and had been removed from her parents’ care and placed with her aunt.
Caroline wasn’t interested in meeting Laura, her CASA volunteer. Since entering foster care, she had encountered a parade of adults who were “there to help,” but Caroline still felt so alone.
During their first visit, Laura mostly sat quietly as Caroline disclosed wanting to hurt herself. Laura listened without judgment. As their conversation ended, she suggested having coffee to get to know each other better. Caroline thought, “maybe having a CASA means being a little less lonely.”
Laura and Caroline’s relationship grew stronger each week. They had coffee, took long walks, and went thrift store shopping. Laura helped Caroline feel a little lighter. Behind the scenes, Laura kept in touch with Caroline’s school, therapist, and caseworker to ensure Caroline’s needs were being met.
Concerned that Caroline was no longer safe at her aunt’s, Laura informed the judge; then Caroline moved to a new foster home in a new town. In this positive home environment, Caroline slowly began to heal. Despite approaching adulthood, Caroline still wanted a forever family. She wanted to be adopted by her foster parents – and they wanted her to be their daughter. Laura shared Caroline’s wishes with the judge, and her permanency goal changed to adoption.
When adoption day came, Laura brought decorations, cookies, flowers, and a special scrapbook to the courthouse to celebrate with Caroline and her family. Standing next to her parents, Caroline thanked her CASA, Laura, for giving her hope when she was in a dark place.
Your generous support makes stories like Caroline’s possible. Make a gift of hope today by visiting this link.
For 35 years, local accounting firm EHTC has devoted its annual golf outing, Chipping for Chairty, to raising money for community organizations. Our staff and board of directors were ecstatic when CASA of Kent County selected as the company’s official charity partner for 2023.
CASA volunteers commit time throughout the year to advocate for children, so we love to throw a proper party to express our gratitude for their hard work.
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