CASA Child Advocates Introduces Pilot Mentoring Program for Teens in Care

Melissa AndersonBy Melissa Anderson, Case Supervisor and CASA4Teens Program Coordinator

The teenage years are a pivotal time – it’s a special season in life when kids wrestle with their identity, push for independence, and eventually come out on the other end as young adults. They pull on the leash of childhood, fighting for autonomy. And while they will, of course, vehemently deny it, what they really need are trusted adults on the other end of that leash who refuse to let go. They need adults who encourage their journey of self-discovery and growth, all while standing strong as a source of unwavering support.

Here at CASA, we are working to build better supports for the teenagers in our program. Some of the major aspects of that are focused on helping them develop better life skills, plan for a career, address substance abuse issues, and anchor themselves in a support system. We are so proud of our Advocates who stand by the teenagers in Montgomery County. They stick with them through joyous celebrations as well as some of the darkest storms.

Many of our Advocates have worked through the support-building process with Collaborative Family Engagement. CASA volunteers have found teachers, relatives, and fictive kin who can all build into the teenagers’ lives. This upcoming year, we would like to also like to move towards adding mentors into those support systems. We are partnering with a local organization who would like to provide mentors for some of our teenagers. While Advocates have a connection with the teen as their court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem, seeking out their best interests within the system, these mentors would be yet another form of personal support for teens in care.

A request for our advocates

We will be selecting a small group of teens with whom to pilot this program. As the ones on the front lines, we trust that our Advocates know these teens best, so we come to you directly. If this is something that you think would benefit your CASA teen, please feel free to email me at melissa@casaspeaks4kids.com. We will be working through the selection process over the next few weeks. I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity and what it could mean for our teenagers in the way of added support and trusted adults in their lives. Thank you for all you are doing! Hope to hear from you soon!