I’ve been a CASA volunteer for around four years now.
Meeting my youth was refreshing because he was so honest. I asked him to get together with me, and the first couple of times he said no. Many people would have been put off by that, but I appreciated my youth’s honesty.
My youth has been in the foster care system for over a decade. I think sometimes older people, and I’m including myself, intrude on younger people and assume that they just want us to speak on their behalf. But I believe we should earn the right to speak up for them and be there for them. And I appreciate my youth, which has allowed me to earn the right to do so. When he finally agreed to hang out, I was excited and wanted to make sure that I respected his personal space. And I think it’s been great from there.
We both love high school football, so we go to the local high school football games, which has been a great place to meet. We’re eating and we’re watching the games. And as there’s a time out on the field, they play music. My youth gets up and he starts dancing away. And he’s like, “What’s wrong? Don’t you want to dance?” So, I got up and started dancing and it was one of the coolest things that’s happened between us. I even surprised my youth for his birthday at school. Although I was afraid of embarrassing or offending him, it went over well, and I was just glad to be a part of such an important day in his life.
I was thrilled when I received an invitation to my youth’s high school graduation. He has worked hard, and he’s got a 4.0-grade point average. Watching him graduate was one of the highlights of my CASA volunteer career. My youth plans to enroll in Fresno City College and major in business-related studies there. I’m sure he’ll do well in whatever he chooses to study.
*The names of individuals mentioned in this story have been changed to safeguard the identities and privacy of the foster youth involved