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Melissa Reagan

“When I think back on my youth, it’s like visualizing a stationary object but with all of its surroundings rotating around it. I was that object.” That is how Melissa
describes her experience growing up in foster care. Even in the most caring of foster homes, Melissa said, “The one thing that remained consistent throughout my experience in foster care was a feeling that I didn’t belong.” That changed when Kathy, a volunteer Advocate, came into Melissa’s life. Their relationship began with simple outings: roller-skating, movies, lunch. Their relationship continued to grow and Melissa said, “I developed a sense of security when I was with Kathy. With her, I was safe.” Melissa was reintroduced to CASA fifteen years later, but this time as a parent. When her two children were removed from her care she said, “I had so many fears; those fears were amplified by my first-hand knowledge of the system, and the many ways in which it had let me down as a child. When each of my kids was matched with a CASA Advocate, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.” Today, both of Melinda’s children have been returned to her care, she is working full-time, planning to go to college, and her dependency case is closed. However, the bonds that were built between her children and their Advocates remain. Melissa said, “They are no longer Advocates – they have become an extended part of our family.”

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