As a CASA Board Member and, and most recently as the Board Chair, my journey has been profound with powerful lessons and a range of emotions, all reflective of the depth and impact of advocating for some of Chatham County’s most vulnerable children.
One of the most profound lessons that I have learned is about the incredible resilience of the human spirit, particularly that of our children within the foster care system. Witnessing their strength during tough times has been both inspiring and painful. Their stories have taken me on an emotional rollercoaster, from heartache at the challenges they endure to admiration for their ability to endure and persevere.
As a Board member, I have come to understand the significance of advocacy. Each child's unique story and struggles have touched my heart deeply, instilling in me a deep sense of compassion and the wish to do more ----to do better by these children. I recognize their needs beyond the legal system --- acknowledging the emotional support, stability, and nurturing environment required for their well-being, growth, and continued success.
The CASAs that continue to help and stand by these children as they navigate the legal system demonstrates the true perseverance and dedication of these critical individuals and the roles they play in each child’s life. Advocating for children within this framework demands meticulous attention to detail, extensive research, and the ability to effectively communicate complex situations. But most of all, it requires compassion and love. With kindness and the mission at heart, I have seen the triumphs and challenges encountered bring forth feelings of joy when justice is served and sheer frustration when bureaucracy impedes progress.
Transitioning into the role of the Board Chair introduced a new set of emotions for me—pride in leading a team dedicated to such a vital cause, responsibility in ensuring the organization's effectiveness, and, at times, the weight of managing expectations and resources needed to ensure that Brightside’s Mission would continue and never leave a child uncared for. We never want to say no and strive to ensure that every child in Chatham County’s foster care system has a CASA --- an advocate that will fight for them until the end.
Throughout these past seven years I have participated in a truly amazing organization. The lessons learned and emotions felt as a volunteer and Brightside Board Member have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on me and my peers, shaping perspectives, values, and commitment to advocating for the most vulnerable in our society.
Brightside aims to create a nurturing environment where each child can find a sense of belonging and stability. May the coming year bring even more opportunities for growth, healing, and positive experiences for these children, as Brightside remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for their well-being and ensuring they receive the support they need to thrive.
Together, let us work towards a future where every child in the foster care system is embraced with love and provided with the tools to build a brighter, more promising tomorrow.