Dear CASA of Tulare County supporters, advocates, and followers:
The word responsibility means: “a moral obligation to behave correctly toward or in respect of.” As individuals, we all have a responsibility to control how we act or behave towards one another. In the efforts of acting responsibly, I’m challenging each one of us to behave and make responsible choices about our most sacred asset, our children. As the Executive Director of CASA of Tulare County, I take this responsibility of leading this charge seriously and with humility. I’m thankful for those who served before me (Paul Moore, Marilyn Barr). They laid the foundation and set the bar to continue our efforts to become more actively engaged in the community as well as, to serve our youth with dedication, resourcefulness, and lastly, with fierceness.
I’m excited about the work ahead of us, here at CASA, and will be challenging myself and staff to remain focused on our needs to be the best we can be. I’ll be working diligently to find additional donors and sponsorship's, so that we can invest in recruiting and training as well as, retaining more court appointed advocates. Statistics have shown that children who have court appointed advocates are less likely to fail in school, commit crimes, etc. All in all, they have a better opportunity to be successfully happy!
Personally, as a former ward of the state of Ohio, I have a unique perspective on the entirety of our cause. Having firsthand knowledge of being taken away from home, going from placement after placement, court deposition after court deposition, I can attest that it’s a confusing and terrifying place for a kid. Children are still new to our world, and when going into an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people determining their future, they’re ultimately lost and scared! It’s a proven fact that if a child has a court advocate speaking on their behalf, they’re more likely to get appropriate placement and a closed case. Most of all, their fears and concerns will be addressed in a way where the presiding judge hears their voice in the matter at hand.
Our challenge is not to be complacent, or comfortable, but it is to continuously provide a quality, sustainable service to the kids that we serve in Tulare County. Many have come before us not only with their time and dedication, but with their resources as well! We owe a debt of gratitude to people like my former Social Worker, Sharon Ross, who’s compassion, and counsel shaped me into the man that I am today. People such as Mrs. Ross, and the countless volunteers, donors, board members, and staff have passed the torch. It’s my job to lead the pack, holding this torch high for all to see. With the right amount of effort, it’s fire will shine bigger and brighter as each day passes.
We do this so that every kid who is in troubling circumstances can become the light in a dark place. The torch light reaches them, and like a domino effect, countless surrounding communities. At the end of the day, the fire on the torch is truly the light of our kids smile, their permanent placement in healthy surroundings, the reunification with a love one who has done the work to get their kid/ kids back home… that brightness is you, that brightness is me! That brightness is CASA of Tulare County!
Eric Johnson, Executive Director