All Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers are asked to make an 18-month commitment to become a consistent presence in a child’s life, but many CASAs stay on for much longer. CASA Sonya has been advocating for children in San Diego County foster care for 13 years! For the last seven years, she has been matched with a young man named Michael*.
As a teen, Michael was rebellious, getting into trouble, and falling in with the wrong crowd. But his attitude never stopped CASA Sonya from showing up for him. She attended and actively participated in all of his meetings and communicated with the many people and professionals on his case, ensuring he received the services he needed. She was always there to remind Michael of how capable he was.
With CASA Sonya’s steadfast support, things began to change. Michael began earning good grades, participating in extracurricular activities, and making the best of his living situation. He graduated high school earlier this year and secured multiple college scholarships.
Today, Michael is attending a local university and considering a career as a lawyer or social worker so he can help youth in foster care like him. He also has his own apartment and is the proud father of a new baby. When Michael’s son was born, CASA Sonya was one of the first people he called. CASA Sonya continues to stand by Michael as he transitions into this next chapter of life and continues cheering him on.
Volunteer: Sonya M.
County: San Diego
Became a CASA: 2010
Favorite part of being a CASA: I think my favorite thing is watching the child/children as they begin to trust me, to relax with me, and to share their concerns and their joys. This is usually the point where I can begin to take action to speak up for them, reassure them, or help them achieve their goals. When they run to the door and greet me with excitement, my heart just melts.
You, too, can make a difference in the life of youth in foster care. Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality