Myla entered foster care when she was 13. Her CASAs, Dwight and Judy, made an immense impact on her. Read Myla’s touching words about her CASAs and how their presence helped mold her success:
Dear Judy and Dwight,
When I was 13, I entered foster care with my little brother, and to say we were lost is an understatement. There was a lot of sorrow and heartbreak that I buried deep inside my heart. I didn’t ask for help and I didn’t know how to deal with all the emotions that came with losing a parent, entering foster care, and ensuring my little brother and I stayed together. I was terrified. However, with all those emotions, came both of you with your smiling faces and outstretched arms. You let me open up at my own pace, you were there with loaves of zucchini bread and cookies, and I found myself looking forward to every visit every week for the next several years. You went to court for us when we were too scared to. And you came back, made ice cream with us, and explained to us what happened at those court hearings in a way that wasn’t so scary. You connected us with family we didn’t know we had. You made sure we stayed connected and didn’t lose the family we made.
When I started to get older, and when aging out of care was a very real thing, you showed me that it was okay to think about college. When I was a junior in high school, you showed me all the resources available to you, you spoke with my school and showed me there were fee waivers and ways to get my foot in the door when I didn’t have a penny to my name. I applied to as many scholarships as you could show me and I spoke to everyone you put me in touch with so that I could afford college.
When I turned 18, I went to college with a full ride because of you both. I didn’t have to worry about the problems many aging-out youth face. I didn’t have to worry about food or how to live because you did all the leg work when I was a teenager and reached out to people for me so I didn’t have to spend my college years trying to survive – you taught me how to be independent. And when I graduated with honors from California State University, Fullerton, you were there cheering me on.
I’m 26 years old now and you’ve both been cheering me on since I was a child. Although I was raised in the child welfare system, you both also raised me and taught me how to be independent and fight for what I believe in. In May, I’m going to graduate from law school. For the past year, I have represented foster youth in their court proceedings keeping in mind how you both treated me with your smiling faces and outstretched arms. With all the values you taught me, I’m going to be an attorney. Because of you both, I get to be an attorney. With all the love and support you’ve shown me, you both taught me that it was okay to ask for help, to advocate for myself, and to advocate for others.
Thank you, Dwight and Judy. Thank you for believing in my brother and I and showing us nothing but love and support when we were in foster care.