2021 has proven that we need each other to not just survive but to thrive. As we close out the year, we would like to congratulate and thank every volunteer and supporter of CASA. We could not change children's stories without the community that supports us.
Before we wrap it up, we wanted to spotlight CASA volunteer Hannah Edwards. Hannah became involved with CASA over a year ago as a volunteer advocate. Before CASA, she opened her home to foster kids as a respite for foster families, while raising five children of her own. Since becoming a CASA advocate, she has been the voice for children on two cases.
Outside of CASA, Hannah is part of a homeschool co-op that ranges from Frankfort-Lawrenceburg to Louisville-Southern Indiana. The co-op as 90 kids that range from infants to 18 years old. They meet once a month for regular classes that takes all day. During Christmas, they had an annual tradition of doing a gift exchange. This year, Hannah suggested going with the servant route and showing kids its better to give than to receive.
Hannah gave a short talk about CASA and her work with vulnerable kids to the children at the homeschool co-op. She asked children how they would feel if they met someone new, and they answered they would be scared/afraid. Hannah then asked them what if someone brought a game or toy to get to know you? The children said they would be more comfortable.
Through this presentation, the children at the homeschool co-op decided to support CASA's holiday gift drive. After discussing different toys they could buy for the kids, they decided on providing board games. The kids thought this would be a great way to break the ice with new friends. The kids were so excited about this project that they collected 75-100 games filling two large bags.
This toy drive was especially important for the teenagers, especially for Mason, a 14-yr old, who decided to play Santa Claus. When Mason collected the toys from the young children, he said, "Walking into the room, I was a little nervous, but when I asked all the kids to help me put the toys into the bags that we were going to deliver to [CASA], there was a rush of kids handing me presents."
"I felt good."
"It was encouraging to see children grasping the fact that they were not receiving gifts but giving them to other kids who looked like them, but had a completely different situation. After I had all the gifts in the overflowing bags, the younger children wanted to take pictures. The looks that they had on their faces after I gave them a high five or first pumped them made it all the more enjoyable to do it. I would do it again in a heartbeat!"
Through this experience, we know that these kids understand the importance of giving and how giving can fulfill them as well.
Thank you Hannah, Mason and to all the children at the co-op!