The subject was birthdays.
The little boy had had seven of them, but he didn’t even understand what a birthday was. What he did know about was change. He’d been removed from an abusive home as a toddler and moved through sixteen different foster homes. He’d had multiple attorneys, teachers, schools, social workers, and therapists.
Nothing in his young life had been constant, but that was about to change. A judge had assigned him a CASA volunteer, someone to make sure the system, with all its parts, prepares him for a healthy and successful future.
As they got acquainted, the boy told his volunteer that something wonderful had happened. His birthday this year had fallen on the same day as the year before.
Her heart sank. If he didn’t even understand the concept of a birthday, what else had he missed out on? She explained it to him—what a birthday means and how his would always be on the same day. “Cool!” he exclaimed. Here was something he could count on.
Since that day nine years ago, his CASA volunteer has remained steadfast in the boy’s life. They go to movies, eat tacos and talk about big and little issues in his life. She monitors his progress in school, sees that he gets medical care and counseling, and advises the court about his placements. She even organized a party at the CASA offices for his twelfth birthday, reuniting him with his older brother and sister.
He’s still hoping for a lasting home. But in the meantime, he’s not alone. His CASA volunteer is there for him, like no one else has been, connecting him to the support he needs to succeed in life.