“Hello everyone. My name is Anthony Davidson Gill, although I go by Jerome Gill because that is the name my mother has called me since I was born. I am going to tell you what it is like to have a CASA volunteer. First off, just notice the title. Whenever you say CASA you do not say, “Here is my well-paid CASA worker.” Nope, not at all. Whenever you mention CASA, you say, “Here is my CASA volunteer.” That means you have someone caring and loving you for you, not the state’s or the government’s money.
My mom shook our baby sister, which led to me, my two little sisters, and our older brother being placed into foster care. As time went by, my mother told CPS that she could not take care of us. We traveled from being in a shelter to being put into our first foster home. This is where I would meet, Karen Cox, a special lady who I call Wonder Woman.
I remember the time when my CASA worker and I first went in court, and I was oh so very nervous. I thought, here comes another state worker telling me what to do. So I was not happy at first. Then she came to visit me when I was 12 years of age. Karen and I talked, and once she took my siblings and me out to get ice cream.
There was also a time when I had to say good-bye to my little sister, and that was so hard for me to handle. She was adopted by someone I didn’t know. All I knew and felt was that my baby sister was being taken away. I did not have my mom telling me, “everything will be fine.” I did not have a Superman to cheer me. There was no Captain Planet there to clean up my tears. I had no hero except my CASA worker. She was there. Not my mom, not my dad, and I guess Superman just forgot to show up. I had no Superman, but I did, and still do have a Wonder Woman. My CASA worker was strong enough for me that day to overpower 100 Supermen. She was there taking pictures, laughing, and having fun with us. I was dead inside, and she was my respirator keeping me alive. The following week, Karen brought my siblings and me pictures of our good-bye visit with our little sister. I was so happy what she had done.
I am now 19 years old and in college. I graduated from Lockhart High School, and, of course, Wonder Woman was there and brought my younger sister (not the adopted one). I am very thankful to CASA, so thankful that I had to return the favor. For CASA, I put my life out there to everyone. I have been to two interviews on television. I have told my story. I have told new reporters how much I love my CASA and the things she has done for me. I was so scared to tell my story at first, and then I realized I have already lived throughout this. I am still alive, and handsome, so let’s do this.
I will be there first to admit I’m not perfect, but I have given Karen permission to use my life story to inspire other kids in similar situations. I am so lucky to have a CASA volunteer that I can call Aunt Karen, and to hear her say she loves me and call me ‘son.’ She was so happy the time I got to speak at the Texas Mansion for a CASA fundraiser. I got a haircut, and CASA raised so much money. I can’t even sum it all up with only a thousand words, but I can sum it up in three very simple words. I love her. She was always there for my family and me, and she still is”.
*This inspiring story comes from Someone There for Me
By: Anthony Gill
Travis County CASA
Karen was the one person that was a constant source of encouragement in Jerome’s life. There are hundreds of children like Jerome in foster care in Taylor County, who need someone to not only be their voice in court, but someone who can be a consistent role model. Volunteer today to make a difference that will last a lifetime! Every child has a chance, IT’S YOU!