Strong cultural identity contributes to resilience, increased social well-being, and improved coping skills, among other benefits. Youth in foster care grapple with trauma, changing home environments, and lower levels of social well-being than their peers. Coupled with caregivers who don’t have an understanding of religious, ethnic, cultural and racial differences in holidays, food, hair care, and more can add another layer of challenges for youth in foster care.
A prospective adoptive family came forward for 12-year-old Kyra*, but they were from differing racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. In this particular case, the family struggled with the desire to learn about and combine cultures. Kyra began to experience behavioral problems, which affected her home life, school performance, and relationships.
Fortunately, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer Alyx was assigned to Kyra’s case. CASA Alyx developed a strong relationship with Kyra’s social worker, and together, they worked diligently to support the girl and her placement. They supported important pieces of Kyra’s cultural identity, such as mealtime by bringing a meal kit to cook together, and worked to support understanding of hair care differences.
Although this placement did not end up being the right fit, it did lead to a successful permanent placement for Kyra. In the new placement, she found mentorship, support, a sense of belonging, and a passion for step and drill team. Wanting to ensure the cost of participation, team travel, and competitions wasn’t an obstacle, CASA Alyx worked with her Advocacy Supervisor at Voices for Children (VFC) to secure funding to cover Kyra’s step and drill team expenses for the year. In addition to stepping up in special ways for Kyra, Alyx also worked with the VFC Recruitment team to share ideas and collaborate in support of our goal of building a volunteer pool that accurately reflects the youth being served. That’s why we’re excited to name Alyx S. as our July 2022 San Diego County CASA of the Month!
Volunteer Name: Alyx S.
County: San Diego
Became a CASA: 2020
Favorite part of being a CASA: “My favorite thing about being a CASA is getting the opportunity to show a child that they are important, they are loved, and that their voice matters. It is immeasurably rewarding and I am fortunate to get to be a positive part of a child’s life.”
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 privacy