Monday, Nov 19, 2018
When CASA volunteer Stacy first met 14-year-old Kevelyn, she did not receive a warm welcome. Like many foster youth, the Mountain View teen had seen too many adults come and go in her life. Stacy was just one more adult trying to tell her what to do.
“It was like everyone was against me,” Kevelyn, now 17, said, “as if I did something wrong.”
Stacy turned to her CASA Supervisor at Child Advocates for help and attended monthly discussion groups for insight into how to break through Kevelyn’s walls. She employed some of the tactics suggested by her Supervisor and the discussion group leader on how to work with teens who had experienced trauma.
Kevelyn had suffered physical and sexual abuse before entering the foster care system, which understandably left her traumatized. In Kevelyn’s case, she shut down and refused to get help. Stacy was not deterred and kept meeting with Kevelyn for a few hours every week. They went on outings. Sometimes they just grabbed coffee and talked. When they didn’t see each other in person, Stacy kept in touch with Kevelyn via text.
“My goal was to let Kevelyn know I was there for her, no matter what,” Stacy says, “I wanted her to know I couldn’t easily be pushed away.”
Kevelyn started to look forward to their visits. Each time they met, she opened up to Stacy a little more. When Kevelyn was 16 and placed in a foster home in which she was extremely unhappy, she reached out to Stacy for help. With Stacy’s assistance, Kevelyn moved into a transitional home for teens, which suited her lifestyle better.
While Kevelyn liked her new housing situation, she was now responsible for getting herself to school two cities away from where she lives and buying her own food on a budget of $60 a week. Stacy worked with Kevelyn to create a budget so she had enough money for food every week. She also helped Kevelyn get her driver’s permit and then her license – two goals Kevelyn worked hard on that left her feeling very accomplished.
With the support of her CASA, Kevelyn’s attitude has improved tremendously. She is learning to follow rules, willing to access helpful services and is setting goals for herself. She has even agreed to try therapy to help her work through her trauma and anger. Kevelyn had a part-time job during the holidays last year and had a part-time summer job as well. She is in on track to graduate from high school in May, 2019. Kevelyn has hope for the future, and she is planning to attend community college after graduation.
When asked about her CASA’s impact on her life, Kevelyn replied: “Stacy is an amazing person and the foster care system needs more people like her.”