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So Many Children of Kent County Need Our Help

flickr/ Coolbite1 / Erickson Ocampo

Dear 100.5 River listeners and web blog readers,

Some of you may know that I sit on the board of directors of CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate.  It is near and dear to my heart, as children are near and dear to me.  But, it breaks my heart that so many have such a tumultuous life.  That is why I serve.  My dream would be that all children would have a safe, loving and fullfilling life.  But that just isn’t the case for those that CASA serves.

Here is something I want you to read because it truly tells the story, and maybe, just maybe, you could help.

You sit at your desk in this third-grade classroom, staring at your list of spelling words and wondering what is happening miles away in a downtown courtroom. Will the judge send you and your sister back to your mom? Has her boyfriend-the man who moved in and made you and your little sister cry every night-moved out? Really? He was still there last Sunday when you went to visit. Will you stay in your foster care home with the nice people who make sure you have dinner every night and clean clothes and rides to school; the place where your little sister sleeps peacefully in the bed next to yours? You told your CASA volunteer that you missed your mom, but you still worry about your sister. All the time. You heard her tell your CASA what happened to her at night when the lights went out. You let her tell, and think maybe, one day, you’ll tell too. Does the judge know now? Did the CASA tell? Will you be going back tonight? Will he be there?

Imagine if no one spoke for the children.

Thanks to the many who support CASA of Kent County, we have a diverse cadre of volunteers who befriend and support children who have been made wards of the Court because of abuse or neglect. They talk to the children, to the parents, to social workers and teachers and doctors and friends and neighbors. They share what they’ve learned with the Family Court judges who determine the futures of these children. Our judges read the CASA volunteer’s report before any other. They use the CASA reports to inform their decisions in ways that others cannot.

Thanks to all who support CASA of Kent County, this past year, our volunteers have spoken for over 300children whose circumstances range from profound neglect to horrific abuse to devastating loss or crushing isolation. They spoke for children like Bobbi and Brenda, sisters who lost their mother and were sent to live in squalor with their aged father. Schoolmates teased them because their clothes were torn and dirty; they smelled bad and their teeth were crooked and blackened. Their CASA found them free dental care, enrolled them in summer school so they could catch up their studies and, finally, found an aunt and uncle who were eager to take the girls into their home.

Thanks to Grand Rapids supporters for CASA of Kent County,  Bobbi and Brenda are now healthy and happy, living in a safe home and visiting with their father when his health allows.

It only costs $1000 per child per year to provide a voice for a child like Bobbi or Brenda.  This holiday season, do you think that maybe you could help?  It would mean so much to a child who doesn’t have anyone else.   

Thank you for considering this, and, our children.

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