My name is Michelle and at the age of 8, although I didn’t know it at the time, a stranger named Monica soon became one of the most important and positive people in my short life. My brother, Danny, and I came from a home where there was a lot of fighting between my mom and dad. During their fights, which grew more and more frequent, Danny and I would hide in my closet. One night, after a particularly bad fight, the neighbors called the police. Suddenly we were taken away from our home, away from our rooms, away from our things. We were taken to foster home where at first, we didn’t know anyone. It was really scary. 

Soon after, we were introduced to Monica, a Court Appointed Special Advocate (a CASA volunteer). She came and visited us often. Sometimes we would take a walk or play a game. She got to know us, what was important to us, what we needed, and she listened when I felt like talking. One day she asked if there was anything I wanted to tell the judge. My foster parents were helpful and very nice, but I just wanted to go home and be with my mom. During my time in foster care, my mom was taking parenting classes and counseling. Eventually, we did get to go home. Dad wasn’t living there anymore, but we saw him often. We got to see Monica too. For awhile, she still came to visit, even after the court said she didn’t have to. 

Though that time in my life was often scary and lonely, Monica, my CASA volunteer made it a much easier. She talked to me. She listened to me. She gave me encouragement. She gave me hope.