San Diego County CASA of the Month – September 2023
Domestic violence played a significant role in 11-year-old Aiden’s* childhood. He and his siblings witnessed violence and were removed from their home and placed into foster care. Aiden’s behavioral issues escalated as he moved through different homes. He struggled with his emotions around any mention of his family. Eventually, he was sent to live in a group home, separated from his siblings, to receive a higher level of care. Unfortunately, adjusting to the new group home was challenging for Aiden, and he remained closed off from others who engaged with him.
Then, in the spring of 2017, four years after entering the foster care system, Aiden had a few positive and life-altering things occur. He began working with an insightful therapist, who encouraged him to open up to people and relationships. At the same time, Aiden met his CASA, Jesus, and the two started to spend time together. CASA Jesus says they only talked a little initially, but they did play a lot of one-on-one basketball. Eventually, on and off the basketball court, the two talked more about various topics. CASA Jesus recalls Aiden’s keen interest in business, finance, investing, and travel. Around the same time, Aiden met a girl he trusted and felt safe with whom he wanted to build a life together.
Today, Aiden has graduated high school, is studying business in college, is employed, and is still in a healthy relationship with his long-time love. They recently celebrated the birth of their healthy baby girl. CASA Jesus says Aiden is a loving and devoted father, deeply committed to creating a better life for his young family. After six years of faithful advocacy, CASA Jesus submitted his final court report on behalf of Aiden, as he is about to turn 21 years old. CASA Jesus reflected on the ups and downs of their relationship, the setbacks and the successes. Through it all, Aiden has evolved from the guarded teenager he first met to a young man who is optimistic about his future and planning the next chapter of his life.
Name: Jesus S.
County: San Diego
Occupation: Men’s Life Coach & Founder of Purpose First Coaching
Became a CASA in: 2017
Favorite thing about being a CASA: “My favorite thing about being a CASA has been watching my case child grow physically and mentally. I have enjoyed watching him mature and grow to be an independent, hard-working, resilient young adult.”
You, too, can make a difference in the life of youth in foster care. Learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer.
*Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality