CASA volunteer Jane Hegstrom first met Darla, a quiet 16-year-old girl, when she went shopping at The Hanger with five other girls from her foster group home.
“I enjoy working at The Hanger,” Jane said. “Especially on Saturdays when it’s filled with foster kids shopping and laughing and acting like any other kid without an abusive history.”
Jane couldn’t help but notice that on this one particular Saturday, while the other girls were shopping Darla stood by the door with her head down, staring at the floor. When Jane asked her if she was alright, the girl politely replied that all she really needed was a pair of cowboy boots and nothing else.
“She looked so sad and withdrawn and I was so sorry we did not have any boots that day,” Jane recalled.
This is when the power of social media really came into play for Jane. She put out a request for cowboy boots in Darla’s size and before long, she had a pair donated.
The next time Darla visited The Hanger, Jane met her at the door and handed her the boots. She hugged the boots to her chest and started crying. After a few more tears, she sat down and put her new boots on. When she looked up that time, she had a huge smile on her face. The teen seemed a foot taller when she stood up and strutted across the room in her new boots as the other girls laughed with happiness for her.
“Her voice was suddenly clearer and there was a light in her eyes that was not there before,” Jane said. “Later, Darla confided in me that the boots made her feel like she did as a young girl when she lived on a farm with her family, before the abuse started.”
CASA changes the lives of children like Darla every day. Whether it’s through volunteer advocacy, supervised visits, or the Milton Foster Children’s Fund and The Hanger – CASA makes a difference.
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