over a year, Tonja has faithfully visited the 4 precious sisters on her case
almost every week. She knew that although they had been placed with relatives,
these sweet girls needed all the love and support they could get. In addition
to building trust and a sense of safety with the girls, Tonja has also kept in
close contact with every party to the case. The therapist has been especially
crucial based on the abuse that had occurred at the hands of the biological
father. All of the girls have shown amazing resilience in adjusting to new
schools, making new friends and settling in to their new surroundings.
Most CASA cases do not go to a jury trial since the children are either
returned home or the biological parents willingly terminate their rights.
In this case, however, the biological mother insisted on a full trial and
subpoenaed her own children to testify. In her mentally ill state, she thought
the girls would be afraid to go to court, and therefore her husband, the
offending father, would be released from charges. Due in part to Tonja's
unwavering support, the older sisters bravely testified. Tonja also
provided testimony and recommendations to the judge, and ultimately both
parents' rights were terminated.
Like most CASA volunteers, Tonja works full time. Her employer, Street Automotive Group,
very graciously supported her during this very arduous 6 day trial. Street
provided her the flexibility she needed to be present for her CASA kiddos, and
we are all very grateful for their commitment to community volunteerism.
Thank you, Tonja, not only for your fierce advocacy, diligence, and heart,
but also for being a true mentor and role model to these girls. Your
example has shown them that women can be brave and intelligent and kind - and
to be all of those things without apology.