Child Advocates of Silicon Valley

Stories from the Work: Ron and Emmanuel

Thursday, Mar 1, 2018

Ron met Emmanuel when he was a 12-year-old, struggling with peer issues in the 6th grade. On their first visit, Ron took him to Rancho San Antonio Park and Deer Hollow Farm to explore the outdoors and meet the animals. Ron was Emmanuel’s Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a friend, mentor, and advocate for him while he was in the foster care system. Most CASA’s cases last about a year; Ron has been working with Emmanuel for 8 years.

Much of those 8 years of meetings have started with a movie, from Toy Story 3 to Star Wars, then Inception and Ghostbusters and frequently ended getting something to eat and discussing things from the movie or issues that were troubling Emmanuel. Ron was there for Emmanuel when a stay with a foster/adopt family did not work out and help was needed to get him settled in a new foster home. Ron was with him as he struggled to participate in counseling. Emmanuel bottled up his emotions, didn’t know how to talk about them, didn’t see the point. Ron wrote to his volunteer supervisor:

“We discussed an analogy of not treating a wound and letting it get infected being similar to not discussing past issues in therapy and letting them bother you later in life.”

 Ron took Emmanuel on his first-ever visit to a college campus (UC Santa Cruz) and helped him set goals for his future education.  He wrote grants to help buy Emanuel a new suit, shirt and tie, and shoes so he could go to his senior prom. 

Today, Emmanuel is in his second year at a community college. He worked as a writing tutor and was involved with the California Conservation Corps. Emmanuel’s love of the outdoors is quickly matching his love for movies!  He is interested in being a park ranger. Regardless of the direction he takes, he knows his CASA Ron will be there for him.

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