Bringing hope to children
By ELISA NAVARRO, Student Writer
“My boy’s school had something called Challenge Day that I did with them and it really impacted me — I finally saw that some kids were hurting because their parents were not involved with them, and it showed me that they just need somebody to care for them, to encourage them and to believe in them,” said Cindy Jenkins (1985).
Cindy Jenkins is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist at Community Regional Medical Center, a mother, a wife and a proud Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in the Fresno and Madera Counties.
“A CASA is someone that these kids can count on to be there for them and help give them a voice; we are the voice of the child. And the gift of the time you spend with them means the world to them,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins has worked with four children since she started volunteering as a CASA in 2014. She meets with her CASA kids at least twice a month, and has built a powerful, caring relationship with them, something they have never had.
“When they know that someone else believes in them, they begin to believe in themselves. They come to know that you will not give up on them even when they make mistakes, because we all make mistakes.”
One aspect of Jenkins’ work as a CASA is to provide a court report for a judge, which illustrate the child’s feelings and needs.
“Judges are asking for more CASA’s because they [the judges] are making decisions based on what’s going to happen to this child, and the better that information, the better choice they can make for the child. And that’s the goal of CASA, for the needs of these kids to not fall through the cracks.”
Jenkins believes in the power that one person can have for another; especially what an adult can do for these children, who worry about where their next home will be.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to encourage someone and give them hope for their future. For someone who has been neglected or abused, feels abandoned, hopeless, unloved, afraid, or lonely, you can encourage them and be a consistent presence in their life.”
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