As an organization dedicated to supporting children and families in crisis, we recognize that holidays can be a delicate and nuanced time for many. In this series, Purposeful Perspectives, we asked our staff members to select a season, month, or day that is meaningful to them to share with our CASA community. Thank you for joining us as we take a deeper look behind the celebrations that fill our lives.

Included and Valued

By Heidi Grimmett

July is such a special month for me. It hosts my birthday, my husband’s birthday, the anniversary of our proposal, and my family’s annual trip to the beach. Our shared birth month is one of the first things we found to have in common and our proposal happened on July 4th during that yearly trip shared with the people who love me unconditionally.   

Reflecting on these personal experiences, I realize how they intertwine with my work at Georgia CASA and our mission to support children in foster care. Our annual beach trip, hosted by my aunt and uncle in their beach house, was a significant part of my upbringing. When my parents couldn’t afford regular vacations, my extended family stepped in, providing me and my sisters with opportunities to be surrounded by other caring and supportive adults during times when my parents struggled. Many of my core childhood memories happened at this house. Many life lessons came from aunts, uncles, and grandparents on these trips.  The cumulative experiences of frequent quality time with my extended family underscores the importance of having caring adults and extended family members in a child’s life, especially when their primary caregivers face challenges. 

These meaningful family moments are not just cherished memories; they highlight the crucial role that supportive adults play in the lives of children. It’s important for our network to remember that summer vacations can be very different for children in foster care compared to many of our own. Some foster homes may place kids in respite care during vacations, leaving the child feeling rejected and lonely once again. On the other hand, children who get to experience more extravagant vacations with their foster families might feel uncomfortable with the luxury or guilty for enjoying themselves without their siblings or parents. 

As we celebrate our own milestones and traditions this summer, let’s keep in mind the diverse experiences of the children we serve. Our goal is to create an environment where every child feels included and valued, regardless of their circumstances. By recognizing the importance of caring adults and meaningful family time, we can better support the children in our care and ensure they too have moments of joy and connection and that their culture and traditions are prioritized.  

Thank you for joining me in reflecting on the personal significance of July. Together, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of children in foster care, providing them with the love and support they deserve. 

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