Unbreakable Bonds:

Sian's Journey as a CASA Volunteer


Sian’s decision to become a CASA volunteer was sparked by a desire to make a meaningful, one-on-one difference in someone's life. For Sian, the opportunity to provide individualized support and advocacy presented a compelling call to action. This calling led Sian to Ethan, a high school student grappling with the aftermath of abuse, neglect, and the transition into adulthood within the foster care system. Ethan's story is a testament to resilience; despite facing unimaginable challenges, including serious health issues and anxiety and living in a car for a prolonged period, their spirit remains unbroken.

The youth's critical transition period from 18 to 21 drew Sian to Ethan's case. The challenges encountered while advocating for Ethan ranged from ensuring respectful treatment by professionals to addressing basic healthcare needs. A poignant piece of advice, echoing from a youth who had grown up in foster care—"Don't tell us what to do"—resonated deeply with Sian, guiding her approach with Ethan and emphasizing the vital importance of listening and empowering Ethan to chart their own course.

Maintaining a positive relationship with Ethan involved simple yet meaningful activities, like visits to bookstores and malls, which facilitated open conversation and quiet reflection. These moments of peace and normalcy became a foundation for trust and understanding. Through every challenge and milestone, Sian’s respect for Ethan’s pace and autonomy remained unwavering.

Significant milestones in Ethan's journey included growing confidence and self-advocacy, particularly in affirming their gender identity. Sian’s attentive support, such as ensuring Ethan’s chosen name and pronouns were respected in court documents and played a crucial role in validating their identity. Moreover, assisting them in overcoming their anxiety about medical visits marked a pivotal step toward self-care and empowerment.

The impact of this advocacy extends beyond practical achievements. By listening to and valuing Ethan’s passions and dreams, Sian has helped rebuild the confidence eroded by years of neglect and misunderstanding. This relationship underscores the transformative power of being seen and heard, of knowing that one's feelings and aspirations matter.

Reflecting on the personal growth and fulfillment derived from her experience, Sian humbly acknowledged the profound impact her advocacy made in Ethan's life. Her advice to prospective CASA volunteers was simple yet profound: embrace the opportunity, trust in the training and oneself, and cherish the transformative power of patience and attentive listening.

As their case came to a close, the bond between Ethan and Sian endured as a testament to the enduring impact of CASA's mission. Sian's plans to continue supporting Ethan through their transition to a four-year college and beyond highlighted the profound connection and unwavering commitment that defined her experience as a CASA volunteer. Sian fondly recalled Ethan's words, "I want you to be at my graduation."

This story is one example of the countless lives touched by the dedication and compassion of CASA volunteers. It serves as a stirring call to action for others to recognize the profound impact they can have, reminding us all that within every individual lies the extraordinary potential to change a life for the better.