According to Dallas CASA volunteer advocate/Dallas CASA Children’s Council President Beth Cholerton,
“Dallas CASA’s wish this holiday season is that every child living in the protective care of the state has holiday gifts they can call their own.
“Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) provides trained and supervised community volunteers to advocate on behalf of children who have experienced abuse or neglect and have been removed from unsafe homes. In 2020, our volunteers served 3,374 Dallas County children.
“Most children dream of finding special gifts under the tree Christmas morning. But for the children we serve, life in protective care is so uncertain they can’t be sure the holidays are coming. Dallas CASA has committed to making sure every child we serve has gifts this holiday through our Angel Tree Holiday Giving Program. We welcome donations of cash or gift cards to make their holiday magical.
“I have served as a volunteer child advocate since 2014, so I’d like to share what gifts at the holidays mean to children in care.
“I am currently assigned to advocate for a 17-year-old girl. She’s been in 15 different foster placements at last estimate and has experienced more chaos and confusion in her life than any of us can imagine. She has no family support, and she recently found out she will be having a baby of her own this spring. She wants so much to support herself, but at 17 she also knows she needs help. She recently informed Child Protective Services she would like to stay in care past her 18th birthday so that she can better prepare for adulthood and that she wants to pursue a GED before her baby is born.
“So much is expected of her, but yet she’s still a child in so many ways. And I want her to have moments of joy and know that I care about her this holiday season. Living in a residential treatment center means she has psychiatric, educational and parenting support but not always the personal care and attention she craves. That’s where I can help.
“She wants items picked out with her and her baby in mind. She has practical needs, but she also likes cute clothes and accessories, makeup and hair products. We’re planning a shopping trip for her, and I am helping with items she needs for the baby expected soon. I will help make sure Christmas comes for this teen who has suffered and struggled so much, but is hoping for a better life. And I’ll be able to do it with the support of kind people like you.
“There are so many more children of all ages, infants through teens, who will be living in protective care through the holidays. In 2020, friends of Dallas CASA provided gifts cards for more than 2,200 angel tree requests, and we anticipate a similar number in 2021.
“Dallas CASA welcomes donations of cash or gifts cards, which our supervisors and volunteer advocates use to purchase gifts for children or work with their caregivers to do so. Consider donating $25 or $50 gift cards from Walmart (most requested), Target or Amazon for the children and deliver or send the gift cards to Dallas CASA. To make a donation of any amount, visit Angel Tree Holiday Giving.
“Thank you for your helping making a child’s holiday gift wishes come true.”
* Graphic/photo provided by Dallas CASA