12 KIDS in 12 DAYS
We hope you will connect with the amazing stories of our kids. These are kids in your community who are working through unimaginable challenges. Your gift to our 12 kids in 12 days campaign will help us provide stable and consistent services to one of these kids. As you read about Addison and Gavin, you are going to see how powerful your support is. For only $100 a month, or $1,200 a year you will change a childs' life.
12 KIDS IN 12 DAYS!
CASA of Southwest Idaho exists to serve children who have been abused and neglected and are placed in foster care. We come alongside children 0-18 years old to provide best-interest advocacy through a caring and invested CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer the entire time a child is in care.
In order to serve every single child in foster care here in Southwest Idaho this year, we need 42 more CASA volunteers! If you have 8 hours a month to bring hope to a child, we'd love to meet with you! We provide extensive training and support so you can truly champion children who need your voice.
DAY TWELVE: MEET MITCHELL
His CASA writes, “I am a bit teary today in a good, relieved and optimistic-but-still-cautious sort of way. It seems like Mitchell may have finally (after a dozen moves) found his forever home with an amazing couple who is incredibly committed to working through his trauma and his behaviors and his learned lack-of-trust in adults. They are the first couple in his life who have said No Matter What. There have been bumps, but the couple is holding true.
I visited this morning and just reread my notes this evening. I wrote: He had the biggest smile I have ever seen on his face. I am getting teary again just thinking about where he came from and where he is now. I was just a little part of his journey, but I remember two years ago what he looked like and things we talked about and it almost doesn’t seem possible that he is now smiling and joking and playing with other kids. This is why I am a CASA.”
Please help support children like Mitchell by donating today. It costs about $1,200 a year to serve one child in Idaho. You can support Mitchell for all of 2024 by signing up as a recurring donor at $100 per month.
DAY ELEVEN: MEET ADDISON
Addison is brave. She experienced horrific sexual abuse. She feared for the health of her body and she feared that something similar could happen to her little sister. Her fears overwhelmed her and she eventually talked with the guidance counselor at her school.
Addison and her sister were immediately removed from their home. However, her family proceeded to inform authorities that Addison had a history of false accusations. This led to confusion and decision makers questioned Addison’s claims. The skepticism also threatened the return of her younger sister to a potentially dangerous environment in their home.
It was at this critical juncture that Addison’s CASA stepped into the situation. The CASA ensured the proper investigation was launched and as the truth emerged, it became painfully clear that Addison’s claims were indeed legitimate. Addison’s CASA continued to visit her and her sister. She made sure Addison had resources she needed both physically and emotionally. She continuously confirmed with the girls that they felt safe in their new surroundings.
Addison’s courage in disclosing the abuse not only protected herself from further harm but also guarded her vulnerable sister. When talking to her CASA recently, Addison shared, "All I ever wanted was to protect my sister." This CASA was able to ensure that Addison’s voice was amplified in her time of fear.
Please consider donating to our 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign so brave girls like Addison and her sister can have hope for a safe and loving home.
DAY TEN: MEET GAVIN
He likes LEGO bricks and pizza. He’s 12 years old. Here is a story from his CASA:
"I got a call at 7:48am and the caller ID said “Maybe: YMCA.” I answered it out of curiosity, and I’m glad I did. The week before, I had stopped by the YMCA to do a quick visit with Gavin who was at a summer camp there. I spoke briefly to his camp leader, and gave my contact info in case he wanted to speak more in depth. The call I got that morning was from the camp leader, telling me that Gavin had forgotten it was a field trip day. He needed the $5 fee and a sack lunch or he would have to stay behind. They had called his foster mom, but she was already at work in Boise. I live near the YMCA, so I was able to grab a “Lunchable” and give Gavin $5 for the field trip. And because it absolutely does matter - yes, I got the pizza Lunchable in the big box that comes with the drink and candy!
I am asked all the time why I am a CASA and what does it mean to advocate for children in foster care. I think the answer could be so varied that it seems impossible to explain it sometimes. However, in situations like this, I’m reminded that it’s actually pretty simple: we advocate by showing up. We advocate by being consistent, encouraging, and giving that child a voice.
At its core, being a CASA means we show up. We show up when we say we will, when we’re asked to, and occasionally, when we’re maybe not quite so wanted! By showing up we are able to build relationships, identify needs, and make sure each child has an adult they can trust – and sometimes a pizza Lunchable!"
DAY NINE: MEET REX AND LUCY
Rex adores his little sister and likes to make her laugh. Sometimes he remembers a time when he was worried he could not keep her safe. The day their dad went to prison, their mom lost hope. She struggled with her mental health, sobriety and finding stable housing. She was scared of being a single mom. Ultimately, she could not keep her children safe and at that point they entered the foster care system.
Rex and Lucy’s CASA became their light in dark times. The CASA made sure Rex and Lucy were able to stay together and continue to share their love as siblings. The CASA also offered a listening ear to the mom. During their conversations, the CASA noticed patterns of the mom’s behaviors similar to those with ADHD and walked her through the process of meeting an ADHD doctor. Indeed, the mom was diagnosed with ADHD which was causing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and lack of motivation. We are cheering for this mom to become fully healthy and regain custody of Rex and Lucy.
In the meantime, their CASA is making sure they have plenty of fun childhood activities like playing soccer, reading silly books, and peeling down pieces of string cheese. Donating through the 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign helps kids like Rex and Lucy and their families.
DAY EIGHT: MEET OLIVER
He just turned 7. He was removed from his home due to abuse and neglect. His parents have terminated their rights. It’s not a pretty situation.
But let me share more about Oliver. He really likes dinosaurs. And he likes chocolate cake. When his CASA showed up on his birthday with a chocolate dinosaur cake - Oliver was beyond excited.
We’re not sure if Oliver has ever really celebrated his birthday before. He’s nonverbal, but that didn’t stop him from sharing his joy about his birthday cake with his CASA. He patted her leg repeatedly, could not stop smiling, and he squealed with his lovely, high-pitched laugh. Oliver’s reaction confirmed for his CASA that he felt joy and he felt valued on his birthday.
One person can make a profound impact on a child. Please contribute to our 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign so we can make sure kids like Oliver feel celebrated on their birthday.
DAY SEVEN: MEET JOSIAH
Josiah had lived in Canyon County all 10 years of his young life until he and his siblings were removed from their home due to family violence and neglect. The siblings were split up, and he and one of his brothers went to live with a foster family up in the mountains.
While he missed home, he did like to snowboard. This has become the bond between him and his CASA. She travels up to the mountains at least once a month and they snowboard together. And they talk. A lot. In between their visits, Josiah writes down questions he wants to ask his CASA. He wants to know if his mom is a good person. He wants to know what she has to do to get him and his siblings back so they can live as a family again.
Josiah’s CASA has learned what an amazing kid he is and that he loves his family very much. He's also becoming a pretty good snowboarder! And Josiah has learned that he can trust his CASA, she will show up when she says she will, and that she will answer his questions. He also knows she will speak up for his best interests. She is hopeful for Josiah’s future in a safe, loving, and permanent home. By donating to the 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign you will help kids like Josiah have a trusted adult in their life to answer questions and advocate for their safety and well-being.
DAY SIX: MEET THE TWINS
“I am a CASA for twins. One of the girls, Angie, is nonverbal and has been placed in a facility out of state. Her sister has been distraught about Angie being so far away. She has historically been her caretaker.
During a home visit with her, she mentioned their birthday was coming and that she bought Angie a fidget toy to give her for her birthday. She asked me if the staff at Angie’s facility could help her pick something for her sister to give to her for her birthday because she wants something to remember Angie by.
She also asked me to tell the staff about foods and treats Angie likes so they can know her better due to her being nonverbal. I found a group of small stuffed animals on Amazon, and I asked the case manager at her facility to show Angie and see if she would choose one she thought his sister would like. SHE DID! She chose a unicorn. (See picture below!) I have purchased the unicorn and will take it to her myself with a birthday note ‘signed’ by Angie.” Maybe this birthday apart will be a little less painful with a unicorn to hold or some special snacks to eat.
Sometimes CASA advocacy is big things like recommending to a judge the best place for a child to live, but sometimes it's helping kids who have gone through so much trauma and separation to connect and be remembered on their special day. This CASA was able to facilitate an interaction that may have otherwise been overlooked.
Please consider donating to our 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign so we can continue advocating for siblings who have been removed from their home.
DAY FIVE: MEET SARAH
Meet Sarah. Sarah is 10 years old. She was removed from her home 4 years ago and is now a legal orphan as her parent’s rights have been terminated.
Sometimes Sarah’s behavior is a bit unpredictable and often she tries to run away. She’s never been in a home with a family for very long and doesn’t really know how to act. She has spent most of the past 4 years living in residential facilities. Recently Sarah was asked why she keeps trying to run away. She responded that she is “looking for a family.”
Sarah’s heart wants to live in a permanent home with a family around her. The one constant adult that comes to visit her and check on her well-being is her CASA. Sarah has had the same CASA for 4 years. They visit in-person and have built a relationship.
Her CASA remembers her birthday and remembers her favorite snacks (gummy bears and goldfish). Her CASA makes eye contact with her and laughs at her jokes (even when they don’t really make sense). Her CASA listens, really listens. Her CASA cares about her and shows up when she says she will. Her CASA is desperately trying to help find a family that is willing to give Sarah a chance.
Without a CASA, Sarah would have spent years of her childhood without a trusted adult in her life. Please consider a donation to our 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign so children like Sarah can have one adult in their life they can trust to show up and listen.
DAY FOUR: MEET TANNER
His CASA stepped in after Tanner was removed from his home due to family violence. He didn’t have a foster family to take him in right away so he was living in lots of different short-term foster homes and residences. His CASA kept visiting him, listening and encouraging and then making notes about his situation. She continued to advocate for a safe and permanent home for him and checked on his well-being.
At one point Tanner didn’t have a coat. He was given one, but it didn’t fit and he was embarrassed to wear it. His CASA acted fast (it’s cold outside!) and picked up a coat that was just the right size. It even matched his backpack. He didn’t take it off all evening!
Recently Tanner was welcomed into a more permanent home. His CASA made more notes. Her words below paint a picture of why our mission at CASA of Southwest Idaho is for all children to thrive in a safe, loving and permanent home.
BEFORE: Sleeping on couch in living room, no permanency, struggling in school, violent thinking, feelings of isolation, not confident in his appearance, low mood
AFTER: Own bedroom with a real bed! A safe place EVERY DAY to call home, learning at grade level, mentions family dinners around a table, loves his new backpack and his foster mom for understanding how important it is to him, smiles constantly, gave me a hug
DAY THREE: MEET LILIANA
Liliana was scared. She has experienced significant trauma and she does not speak English. She has stayed with a few foster families that have lovingly supported her, but unfortunately they did not speak Spanish.
Then Liliana met her CASA. Her CASA speaks Spanish and cut through the language barrier that had been a frustration. Her CASA has a trauma-informed background and knows the child welfare system. Her CASA literally gives this young girl a voice in court. She was able to obtain clothing for Liliana and listen to her needs. Her CASA gives Liliana a trusted adult who helps her tell her story and share her hopes and dreams for the future.
Please consider donating to our 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign so girls like Liliana can have their voices heard and find hope for their future in a safe and permanent home.
DAY TWO: MEET CARTER
He’s a tween who has been in the foster care system for well over a year now. He had a long stint in a rental home with an adult supervisor and other foster boys. He was pretty unhappy. His CASA was there to show up, to listen, and to help where she could.
One little thing Carter mentioned is that he didn’t have a towel. You might think boys don’t really care about a clean towel, but his CASA immediately got some towels! It made a difference to Carter. He felt like his voice was heard. He felt like someone was on his side. And all these feelings came out with the gift of a basic blue towel. Sometimes small things speak volumes to a child’s level of hope.
His CASA made continuous recommendations that he be relocated to a home with a foster family. Recently it happened! He is living with a family now! His CASA asked him to share one thing about his current foster home that he wishes every kid could have. He paused, being quite thoughtful for a tween boy, and then answered, "The feeling of being loved. The feeling of having a family. I have that here and I wish everyone could feel that way."
Carter’s CASA is hopeful that this Christmas season will be special for him. This Christmas, Carter will be celebrating in a home with a family. Please consider donating to our 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign for incredible kids like Carter. Your gift helps them know that their young voices are heard.
DAY ONE: MEET EMMA
Emma is five and needs help from her CASA to count how many sleeps she has until she gets a supervised visit with her mom. Emma recently explained to her CASA that she does not like apples but she does like raspberries.
Her CASA writes, “I put my heart and soul into Emma’s court report this week. I have just started her case and had very little understanding about what was happening. I talked with family members, a foster parent, a teacher, a police officer, and Emma. I ordered police reports and medical records and did some googling. I found stuff that should have been found before. I found stuff that tells us the whole story. I merged it all into a report for the judge. It was exhausting and exhilarating! Sometimes you're in court. Sometimes you're combing records. Sometimes you're in meetings. And sometimes you are coloring with a sweet child and they gift you their work.” Emma had one request for the next visit with her CASA. She wanted a fuzzy blanket.
Little Emma has experienced significant trauma and is in the midst of unimaginable circumstances. But she is still a kid. She likes to color and eat raspberries. She likes the feeling of snuggling into a cozy blanket. Emma needs her CASA. Her CASA gives her hope and her CASA tells her story.
Please donate to our 12 Kids in 12 Days campaign for children like Emma. We want to see her in a safe, loving, and permanent home. It costs about $100 per month to serve a child in Idaho. Let’s raise $1,200 today so we know Emma has a CASA in 2024.