Journey of Hope Stories

Josh Kelchner

The oldest of four children, Josh’s mother suffered from drug and alcohol addiction, eventually prompting him and his siblings to be in separate foster care homes. He credits his CASA volunteer, John, with keeping his family connected during the turmoil.

“I wanted to keep my family close, in my arms every day,” says Josh.

“Realizing that I could not do that was really hard. But John gave me the next best thing. He made sure my input was included when decisions were made about the kids—including having a say in the families that eventually adopted them.”

Josh is now a West Point grad with a bright future.

Dashun Jackson

After being removed from an abusive home at 13, Dashun was in foster care and feeling lost, unable to navigate the system and the courts alone. That is until he met his CASA volunteer, Robert.

“Robert taught me how to communicate, how to represent myself and my needs,” says Dashun. “He helped me understand what was happening in court and taught me how to stand up for myself. When I had something to say, Robert made sure my voice was heard. When I did not want to or could not speak, he spoke for me.”

Now dedicated to making a difference for foster youth in similar circumstances, Dashun is truly a living example of the impact our advocates have on a child’s life.

Savanna

Savanna’s childhood was cut short very early on, living in a neglectful home due to her mother’s drug and alcohol abuse. She assumed the role of the parent to her younger siblings, who were eventually taken into foster care in five different homes.

After reckoning with the family separation, Savanna has mentally come to a place of peace, much in part because of the active involvement of her CASA advocate, Liz.

“Having someone there consistently for the last five years, telling me that everything was going to be OK, someone who was not going to give up on me like my mother had, made all the difference in my life,” Savanna says.