CASA of Central Louisiana held its annual Awareness Social April 19. It was a powerful program filled with a celebration of success stories and a silent auction to raise funds for the CASA program, which serves Natchitoches, Red River and Sabine Parishes.
The speakers were two former foster youth miracles:
Jarvis Spearman is a 23-year-old social work major and graduating senior at Grambling State University. He was raised in the foster care system along with his siblings. He works with the Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston as an alumni staff and life skills specialist. He’s worked in the Chafee Independent Living Skills Program for the past 4.5 years. He also serves as president for the Louisiana Youth Leadership Advisory Council (LYLAC).
“I never had a stable life and I came into the foster care system at 6 years old,” said Spearman. “I never had the love and support I needed so I had to find it for myself.”
Htet Htet Rodgers is a rising senior at Northwestern State University. She entered the foster care system at 13 years old, where she found her forever family. She believes all youth should receive the love and support her forever family gave to her and wants to be an advocate for those who don’t. She is a member of the National Foster Youth Institute’s eadership Corps and a federal reviewer for the Children’s Bureau.
“The foster care system was a haven I didn’t know I needed,” said Rodgers. “I got a forever family, but many other kids didn’t.”
Now Miss CENLA, Rodgers has decided that her platform will be foster support when she competes in the Miss Louisiana pageant this summer.
Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington spoke about the benefits children like Spearman and Rodgers receive by having CASA advocates that give them a voice.
“I love to see these success stories,” he said. “Our system couldn’t make it without all the CASA advocates.”
Become a CASA Advocate and help CASA of Central Louisiana ensure that every foster child has a caring competent volunteer in all judicial proceedings. If you are at least 21 years of age, respect the inherent rights of children to grow up with dignity in a safe environment, and would like to advocate for a child’s best interests in court, become a CASA Advocate today! For more information call (318) 238-2446.