When John Wallingford became a CASA advocate in June of 2014, I’m sure he had no idea that in 15 short months, he would touch the lives of 7 children in 4 different families. After being sworn in, John immediately jumped in and got started on his first case; a case with 4 children! John quickly gained rapport with the children, and their parents, and was often a friendly face that showed up to the family’s home at dinner time carrying in a couple of pizza boxes. John embraced this family’s strengths, and supported their weaknesses.
One afternoon, John realized that the mother’s lack of gas money and stable transportation was a barrier to the children getting to school. Being the problem solver that John is, he immediately sprang in to action to assist the family. He asked the mom if she was ok with the children riding the bus to school. Mom agreed, so John called the Bus Depot and worked out all the details of getting the 11 year old girl signed up to ride the bus that afternoon. Knowing that the little girl would be anxious about riding the bus, as she never had, John waited for her outside of school. When the little girl arrived outside, John’s smiling face greeted her and made sure she got on the correct bus. John then drove his own vehicle behind the bus to the “bus hub” and made sure that she transferred to the correct bus and did not get lost. Again, John followed the bus to the bus stop, parked, and when the little girl got off the bus at the stop close to her home, John walked her the rest of the way to ensure she got home safely and learned her route.
John is not a CASA for the notoriety. John is not a CASA for the praise. John is a CASA because he truly wants to make a difference in the lives of the children he reaches, and give them a chance at a brighter future. We need more Johns in this world.
We cannot thank you enough, John, for the grueling work you do for these children, day in and day out, rain or shine, no matter how busy you are. You are a shining example that one person can make a difference!
“I am amazed you [John] have not been doing this forever, you seem like a pro. You have definitely been an invaluable asset to the team and this family!”
-Amanda Barnard, DFS Case Worker,