Hope Changes Everything!
The message of hope rang throughout CASA of the Mid-Shore’s December 2, 2016 Celebration of Children holiday luncheon. Guests filled the Gold Room at the Tidewater Inn for a festive luncheon that featured inspiring remarks and a poignant story of a young boy’s journey in the foster care system and how hope changed everything for him.
Executive Director Robin Davenport introduced the event’s guest speaker, Bill Stanton, who flew in from California the day prior in order to share his personal story and how hope was instrumental in helping him. Stanton began his story by telling about the Christmas season when he was four years old. He and his mother decorated their tree in their second floor apartment while his inebriated father watched. The decorated tree, magical to four-year old Bill, seemed to be asking to be climbed, so that’s just what he did. The tree crashed to the floor, shattering ornaments in its wake. Enraged, Bill’s father stormed over and picked up the tree. He marched to the second floor window, opened it, and out went the tree. Then this angry and inebriated man marched over to his little boy, picked him up, stomped back to the open window, and threw him out as well.
This began Stanton’s journey as a foster child. He felt that he was in foster care because he’d done something wrong, a similar sentiment that many children in foster care can relate to. Bill explained to the luncheon guests that one person kept hope alive for him, becoming the one consistent presence in his life, telling him that she believed in him, speaking up for his needs, and gaining his trust. Bill began to believe in and hope for a different life, all because of the messages that he continued to receive from this single individual. He emphasized the point that, “Hope can change everything, and CASA is the voice of hope for children who might otherwise remain hopeless.” Bill closed his remarks with a tribute to the dedicated volunteers who fulfill CASA of the Mid-Shore’s mission to create positive outcomes for vulnerable children in our communities.
In keeping with the poignant tone of the luncheon, Country School student Heleah Soulati followed Stanton’s comments with a sweetly soaring solo of “I’ll Stand By You” so moving that not a dry eye could be found in the house.
The program was closed by CASA’s Finance Committee Chair Joe Anthony, who thanked guests for their interest and support, saying, “We can’t do this great work for our community’s children alone. Your support helps CASA to provide hope for some of our region’s most vulnerable citizens.” Guests departed the luncheon with renewed hope, along with heart-shaped ceramic ornaments to remind them of the compassionate work accomplished by CASA of the Mid-Shore.
CASA’s Celebration of Children Holiday Luncheon was made possible by The Bryson Goss Memorial Fund, Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye, Inc.; The Hill Group at Morgan Stanley; TGM Group, LLC; Moorhead and Sally Vermilye; Joe and Susan Anthony, Shore United Bank, Chrissy and Rob McWilliams, and Paula and Bob Statkiewicz. This annual luncheon celebrates the work accomplished by CASA’s volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates, as well as serving as a thank-you event for the significant local financial support provided to this non-profit organization.