Every child deserves a happy birthday and a chance to feel celebrated on their special day. But finding a truly festive celebration while in foster care can be challenging.
Many kids in foster care already feel disconnected because they are living in uncertainty, far away from their parents and friends. Add the COVID-19 crisis, and with physical distancing they are more isolated than ever—and some are missing out on creating birthday memories. A core part of CASA advocacy is helping children to feel connected and maintain well-being, and one CASA volunteer found a creative way to do just that for her CASA child’s birthday.
Veronica, a volunteer in Corpus Christi, first met Celine and her older sister Rebecca six months ago. In the short time that Veronica has gotten to know them, they’ve made a big impression on her. Like all of us, Celine and Rebecca have had to practice physical distancing to combat the spread of COVID-19. Their schools are closed, and they must stay indoors at their foster home, away from their friends. This has meant lengthy days without much to do besides their online lessons.
Veronica hasn’t been able to visit Celine and Rebecca in-person since the pandemic began, but they talk on the phone and text message frequently.
“I try to text every day. I let them know a little bit of what I did for today, and then they start sharing what they’ve done. We talk about home school, homework, staying on track, friends, how’s it going, what did you eat today and if they went outside that particular day,” Veronica said. “I also let them know I care about them very much, miss them, and that they can call or text anytime.”
Celine’s birthday was coming up, and despite the circumstances, Veronica did not want her to miss out, so she got to work to figure out how she could create a long-distance celebration.
“I asked her what type of cake she would like, and she told me that she didn’t like any other cake except ice cream cake,” she said. “I really thought there was no way I was going to be able to get an ice cream cake over there!”
Veronica called stores all over town. Finally, after some advice from her sister, she found a cake that was just right. She checked in with the foster parents, booked a delivery, and soon enough a “Happy Birthday” ice cream cake was on its way to surprise Celine at her foster home!
Veronica decided that the festivities shouldn’t stop there. The next day, she asked the sisters if they’d eaten dinner yet. Celine replied with a quick “No,” and soon enough, Veronica had an order sent out, and pizza was on its way!
With a generous donation from Foster Angels of South Texas, Veronica was able to organize one last surprise. Both Celine and Rebecca will be receiving a brand new pair of Vans tennis shoes of their choice. Celine had been wishing for a new pair for her birthday, and thanks to Foster Angels, Veronica can turn that wish into a reality.
Cake, pizza and a new pair of shoes—small acts of kindness to remind the girls that they are cared for, cherished and loved.
Happy birthday, Celine!
Like Veronica, CASA volunteers across the state are finding unique and safe ways to stay in touch with and brighten the lives of the children and families they serve. If you are interested in learning about becoming a CASA volunteer, visit BecomeACASA.org.
This is a true story. All names have been changed for privacy.
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