Have you wondered what life is like for a child in foster care?

First, start by thinking of the name of your best friend, the person you rely on the most, a favorite teacher and, most significantly — “the secret.” Now because your safety and well-being is at risk you enter the foster care system, away from your best friend, away from the person you rely on the most, and away from your favorite teacher. What do you have left — the secret!

These victims of abuse and neglect walk a journey many of us have never walked before, but they are “our” children. They are in our community and will be our future leaders. As a community, let’s walk in their shoes so these victim children feel supported by the community they need to embrace them during this journey. These vulnerable children, by no fault of their own, must accept these losses and move on.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Galveston County provides trained community volunteers that are appointed by judges to serve as the voice for these voiceless children who find themselves in unfamiliar surrounding without their support systems in place. They must now navigate a new living situation, new schools and new caretakers. This is where a CASA is so valued in the lives of these children — each advocate is a trusted adult that walks this journey with a child until the end. A CASA is the voice that ensures the health and well-being of a child is of paramount concern.

CASA of Galveston County is part of a national network of more than 950 programs and part of a state network of 71 local programs. CASA is a national brand that has been recognized by federal and state agencies as a premiere advocacy program that has proved positive outcomes for children to find safety and permanency as quickly as possible.

CASA of Galveston County will be hosting its third annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes on Dec. 2 on the grounds of the Doyle Convention Center, 2010 Fifth Ave. N., in Texas City. This is a time to come together as a community and support our child victims of abuse and neglect so they can have the support of a CASA to look out for their best interest.

Visit our website at www.casagalveston.org for more information and to register or contact me via email at connie@casagalveston.org or call the office at 409-572-2552, Ext. 1.

Connie Ricketts is the executive director of CASA of Galveston County.

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