Brandon, age 16, used to say that he "wasn't wanted by nobody." At age 6 his young, drug-addicted mother refused to take care of him anymore. He was bounced around from neighbor to friend to relative until he entered foster care at age 9. Relatives washed their hands of him. His father was unknown. He lived in 10 different foster homes and attended 8 different schools. He read on a fourth-grade level. He didn't see the point in finishing high school. In fact, he had pretty much given up on school altogether.
There was a very good chance that Brandon, like many foster children, would "age-out" of the foster care system when he turned 18, with no support system and no high school education.
Then Brandon met Tom, a ProKids CASA volunteer. Tom consulted with the ProKids Education Advocacy Team on how to best work with Brandon and his educational needs. He convinced Brandon that he needed an education in order to find a job and support himself. He also made him aware of the high school options in the Cincinnati area. Tom and Brandon visited some of them together. Soon Brandon enrolled in an alternative high school program. Tom visited him often, giving him much-needed encouragement and support. Tom attended every school meeting and made sure Brandon had what he needed to succeed and graduate.
Tom also made sure that Brandon attended independent living classes where he learned the fundamentals of living on his own. Brandon eventually moved into his own apartment and continued to attend school. ProKids Resource Team helped to furnish Brandon's apartment.
Brandon graduated from high school and received his diploma. At the graduation dinner, Brandon talked about the importance of having one caring person in your life. His CASA volunteer, Tom, smiled with pride.