Las Vegas, NV - April is national Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Wednesday's Child is marking that by profiling the CASA program each week.
CASA is Court Appointed Special Advocates...People who speak for the child in court. But they often become much more in the life of a child.
Dave Courvoisier is here to explain:
Well, in the case of this week's Wednesday's Child -- Elijah -- his casa has been a mentor for him over several years.
Elijah loves football. Two years ago, we took a tour of Gorman's football facility, and you could tell he was rarrin' to go.
Now he's older, much bigger, and playing football for Clark High School. Today, though...We're at the home of UNLV football, and his case worker explains why he likes being called "Eli" now.
"He is good and he still loves the New York Giants, so he likes to be called Eli now because of Eli Manning," explains Becky, Eli's Adoption Recruiter at DFS.
While we took the tour at UNLV, I could see how Eli's CASA worker has had a positive influence on his life. Although Eli's CASA was unavailable on this day, we did talk to another man who's been volunteering as a CASA for years, now.
"I am there just to focus on the well-being and what is good for the child… not always what they want but what’s good for them. And that sometimes a hard thing to juggle," says Jarvis, a CASA volunteer.
For a guy like Eli, who is almost 17, and might age out of the system if he doesn't get adopted, the CASA becomes a central figure in his life - a true mentor.
"You are helping these kids go through an experience that hopefully is temporary, but what I've found is they're attached to you. It’s fulfilling. It’s a way to give back and it’s above and beyond just being a mentor," adds Jarvis.
The jury is still out on Elijah... A well-mannered young man who still wants to be adopted, and he told me what he expects from that family:
"A good family that will support what I want to do in the future," says Eli.
"He still wants a loving family, he still ….That’s his desire to just find a family that will take care of him… even though he’s becoming so independent and he’s growing up he just needs that person to be there for him for holidays and to just kind to keep them in the straight line and answer questions that he might have and help him guide him
To inquire about adopting Eli, call the Adoption Exchange at 702-436-6335.
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