December marks the arrival of our annual Light of Hope campaign where YOU can join us by making a gift to support our county’s most fragile population — the abused and neglected children spending the holidays in foster care.
Tasha Alexander is an example of the child advocate who never quits, no matter what has happened in the case. Two years ago, she accepted assignment to a case with two children – Andy and Cara. The children are now on their sixth placement and second DHS worker. Tasha has been consistent throughout – she has been a Light of Hope for two very special children.
“They’re my little best friends,” Tasha says, “It didn’t take more than a few visits before they quickly warmed up to me!”
Adopted by her grandparents at a young age, Tasha has a lifetime of perspective on the foster care system. And truly, children have become her life’s work. She has been a preschool teacher, worked at a youth shelter, and now serves at an autism clinic. In 2017, her heart for disadvantaged youth brought her to CASA.
I just felt like giving back to my community. I wanted to do more beyond my work-life. Immediately, CASA felt like the right fit.
When I first came onto the case, Andy and Cara were split up for what seemed like no reason. So my first mission was to advocate to have them placed together. They missed each other so much and would often call me to tell me they wanted to visit one another. It was heartbreaking.
Eventually they were placed together in a foster home, but the struggles weren’t over. The home was remarkably unfit for the children. Not only were the foster parents unwilling to care for the specific needs of the African American children’s skin and hair, they were also unwilling to learn from me when I offered help. They went so far as to insist that Cara, who was only seven, should be old enough to maintain her own hair and hygiene. By the time the problem had begun to concern others beside myself, Cara’s hair was so brittle and her skin so irritated that her hair was falling out of her scalp. I was able to advocate for the children to be moved – and just weeks later it was ordered. The foster home was investigated and determined to be unfit.
Your gift to CASA makes meaningful change happen in the life of a foster child. Will you give toward providing this crucial service to an Oklahoma County child? Text LIGHT to 44321 right now to gift your support to volunteers like Tasha.
Both kids have their struggles in school. But I’ll never forget the time I got the call that Andy was throwing chairs.
Andy is a great kid who has been resilient throughout a number of moves. He and his sister love each other very much. But sometimes big changes can trigger some behavioral issues. At school, Andy’s educational plan called for providing him with some separate space when he felt he needed it. This wasn’t being done consistently, but on that day, Andy was having a strong meltdown reaction. I called the school and explained the situation and need. We talked it through and the school came to an understanding and made the accommodations Andy needed. He called me a short time later completely thrilled – “You fixed it for me!” he beamed. Now that we’re past that, we’re working on getting his grades up!
It costs $6 a day to support a volunteer like Tasha in her service to abused and neglected children in Oklahoma County. Child advocates are working every single day to fight for the best interests of children in foster care – and your gift makes it possible. Give today — scroll to the bottom of this page for our donation form!
I’ve developed an “I’ll fix it” attitude as a CASA volunteer. When Andy wasn’t getting the individualized educational attention ordered by the courts, I called and explained the need and situation and got it fixed. When Cara wasn’t getting the allergy shots she needed because her medical records hadn’t been transferred in the move, I got it fixed. When behavior problems crop up and the kids don’t know where to turn, I know that a compassionate phone call can ease their nerves and get to the heart of the issue.
I know I’ve been the most consistent person on this case. And I’ve been the only person all along the way fighting specifically for these children’s best interests. We’re working toward a permanent family placement now, which will hopefully happen sometime in the spring. I’m committed to serving these kiddos – my little friends – and seeing their case through. It’s because of donors like you that I have the support of CASA behind me every step of the way.
Be a Light of Hope for a child in foster care. Give your gift by completing the form at the bottom of this page or texting LIGHT to 44321 to support volunteers like Tasha.
Thank you for supporting our child advocates. Thank you for having these kids’ best interests in your heart. And thank you for making the choice to give to CASA this holiday season!