According to Dallas CASA Executive Director and President Kathleen LaValle,
“For two-year-old Jacob, Christmas didn’t mean warm food, family visits or toys under a sparkling tree. Abandoned in a Dallas drug house by his mother, only 17 and working as a prostitute, Jacob wanted a stable home and a cozy bed for Christmas. The only gift he asked for was love and stability.
“Each year in Dallas, nearly 4,400 children like Jacob are in protective care under court supervision because it simply isn’t safe for them at home. Dallas CASA’s Christmas wish is that the Dallas community would know about children like Jacob and be moved to make a critical difference in their lives. For the Jacobs of Dallas, a CASA volunteer is often the one consistent, caring adult they can count on during a frightening, uncertain time in their lives.
“Of 4,400 children in protective care in 2014, only about half had a CASA volunteer by their side. Dallas CASA wishes for the day when every child in need will have his or her own CASA volunteer.
“Jacob was one of the lucky ones. He was assigned a Dallas CASA volunteer, Lisa, who served as his voice in court, advocating for what Jacob needed.
“Jacob got his Christmas wish three years ago when Lisa found his grandfather
and recommended to the court that Jacob be allowed to go live with him. Finances were tight, but Jacob’s CASA volunteer made sure he had not only the love and stability he longed for but gifts under the tree. Jacob was thrilled to see the brightly-wrapped packages waiting for him, but it was the tears in Jacob’s grandfather’s eyes that showed the little family’s full gratitude.
“Today, three years later, Jacob has been adopted by his grandfather. Finances remain tight, but Jacob has his stable home, his cozy bed and all the love he could wish for.
“With more volunteers, all children like Jacob could have voices in court and an adult looking out for their best interests. If you or someone you know might be interested in becoming a CASA volunteer advocate, please check out the opportunity on the Dallas CASA website at www.dallascasa.org.”
-By Kathleen LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president
* Photos provided by Dallas CASA