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Advocate Spotlight- Supporting a toddler thru some tough times

Emma* was initially assigned to her little one when he was just two and a half weeks old. He had a particularly rough entry into the world and his parents had an uphill climb to overcome some significant challenges. Emma supported this little one and his resource parents, watching him grow and develop into an expressive, verbal, and loving toddler. Emma advocated for this little one for just shy of a year and a half from Aug 2018 - Dec 2019 and was able to support the transition from resource family back to being reunified with his parents. There were some tricky adult dynamics that Emma handled with an open mind and such grace. She continued to support reunification efforts and extended her compassion, firm but loving guidance, and a listening ear to a mom and dad who were making strides in their life to be safe and stable parents for their son. Emma celebrated the dismissal of the case with the family at a dinner out and remained available as a natural support. 

As we know, 2020 - 21 were rough times...unprecedented times...Our community was impacted by a pandemic and ravished by wildfires, two significant circumstances that greatly impacted both Emma and this child's family. And in May 2021, conditions again presented that required intervention and a dependency case was opened resulting in the child once again being placed in out of home care. Emma stepped right back in to advocate and support this little one. Just three months into her advocacy, and immediately after the child's third birthday, he was given a life-altering diagnosis. 

Emma remained a steadfast bright light, a source of comfort and love throughout some extraordinarily difficult times. And beyond that, she frequently drove the child and Mom to Standford Hospital for treatment and appts. Throughout the next year, typical 3-year-old experiences, such as preschool and playdates were put on hold due to the child's health. Emma remained a consistent presence in his life and team and was even able to bring him to visit the CASA House, at times. Despite the seemingly insurmountable circumstances, Mom took on everything that was handed to her, demonstrating unbelievable resilience and strength, and the dependency case was dismissed in January 2023 with the child and mother living together in their home and rebuilding their new normal. And, hopefully the little guy will start preschool soon.

Throughout the 3 years that Emma was in her CASA role, she dedicated countless hours and emotional energy to this child and family. But what has always left me awestruck by Emma is her humility*; her gentle yet strong presence, her open and accepting mind, and the ways she spreads love and kindness wherever she goes.

We celebrate with gratitude the dedication and extraordinary advocacy of Emma.

*fictitious name, because she believes any CASA would do the same. There is that humility...