[This post was written by Rose Matzkin, Youth Heartline's Raton Staff Advocate. It has been lightly edited for clarity.]
I have the pleasure of being the CASA for a foster child named J, who is living with a family a couple hours outside of my town. I don’t get to see him a lot, but last year I got to be part of something that really brought the Christmas spirit alive for me, and I hope for him as well.
At J’s school, his teacher had all the students write a letter to Santa about what they wanted for the holiday. J wrote that he truly deeply wanted a bicycle, and even went into detail about how having a bike would make his days more fun, help him hang out with friends he might not otherwise be able to go see, and even help his foster mom with errands and chores. His teacher expressed to me how much she wanted him to have a bike when she saw his letter. But how to get him one?
His foster mom didn’t have the funds for it. There isn’t even a bike store within two hours of the town J lives in. His teacher wanted him to have it so badly that she even offered to buy it herself, but I told her I’d check with his caseworker to see if something could be arranged. We had four days.
The first response I received from J’s caseworker was that the Christmas funds had already been spent—but a further conversation about auxiliary enrichment funds turned up money that could be used for a bike. There was just barely enough time to get one before his caseworker went to visit him the last time before Christmas. By being the conduit between J’s teacher, caseworker, and foster mother, I made sure that the bike was bought and brought just in time for J to ride it Christmas day.
After getting the bike J wrote another letter—this time addressed to CASA and saying thank you for the present. It was a gift to both of us.