Last week I received an unexpected call from a young man I encountered several years ago. We worked together on college applications and he overcame some of the barriers that existed in that process. As a result, he was accepted into a community college. Shortly after he moved we lost touch. When I saw his name appear on my cell phone, I was thrilled to hear his voice, and touched by his message. “I have been reaching out to those who helped me in my journey, and just wanted to call to say thank you for pushing me.” This young man took a moment to pause as he celebrated finishing his Associate Degree and was beginning a new chapter with a Bachelor degree.
That same day, I was touched by a post from a friend who was remembering the anniversary of her mom’s passing. It was a complicated relationship and, in her post, my friend was able to recognize her mom’s love for her even in the midst of a chaotic childhood. Coming to the understanding her mom was giving her the best she knew how gave her peace. My friend was also able to celebrate the work she has done to be able to break the cycle.
The very next day, a friend from my hometown posted a message wishing a “Happy Day” to all. Along with his post was a counter that indicated the number of years, days, and hours that he has been sober. The years were clicking into year 17. A smile and a “Happy Day” wish posted back from me, and then a pause. I wondered who were the people who helped him through those first hours, first days and weeks, and I hoped my simple reply offers encouragement on his journey.
Days and weeks with these kinds of encounters is a gentle reminder for me the power of connection we have and need with one another. What a privilege and honor it is to work beside a team of community volunteers and staff who create these connections for children and youth who experience foster care. As I celebrate my 7th anniversary with the Hall-Dawson CASA Program, I am filled with gratitude for this team I consider family. Every child is one important adult away from being a success story. These successes hinged on important adults making a difference. There are more connections and promising futures awaiting. Perhaps that connection is you.