Hearts of Yolo: Julie Langston

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018

Julie Langston is a pediatric nurse practitioner and her current job is in forensic assault patient care. She once worked at a clinic for foster children and became familiar with the system both through that work and through adopting their own son from the foster care system.

Julie has always felt that foster kids should have a strong voice during a time in their lives that is tumultuous and uncertain. She recently heard about the ACEs program and how severely trauma affects kids on a long term basis. She had also heard about Yolo County CASA through the years and as her son got older, she felt the time was right to become a volunteer.

Julie has been a CASA volunteer to an eight year old girl for a little over six months. When they first met, Julie’s CASA child was not thriving in the way she could be and Julie supported her through the move to a new home. “Ever since the move she’s been thriving. She is winning awards and has gone from reading below grade level to above grade level. It’s been a great opportunity for her to see herself as someone who succeeds.”

Self-actualization is something Julie has worked very hard on with her CASA child. “I’ve seen her grow so much in a short time. She is a smart, determined, sweet and spunky kid. She really thrives with one-on-one attention. In a short time I’ve seen her go from being anxious and angry to finding other ways to handle her life circumstances. Participating in this transformation really drives home how important the role of a CASA volunteer is.”

Julie goes on to explain, “There are many professionals who serve foster children. The dependency system is complex and it is stretched at capacity right now. My CASA child is so proud to have a CASA volunteer of her very own and I don’t ever want her to feel like a number in the dependency system.”

In fact, despite her circumstances, Julie admires the strides her CASA child has taken in embracing her situation, “Whenever we do a craft, she always makes sure she makes something for both her foster family and biological family. At only eight years old, I am extremely impressed at how she has embraced her situation. She’s innocently appreciative and accepting.”

Julie remembers one of their recent visits particularly well, “I made her a booklet for photos and notes from our visits. One day we went to the zoo and she just loved it. She liked some of the really unique animals and commented that some of them smelled funny. It was really important to her that the pictures from that day made it into her book. I have come to realize that those photos are some of the only photos she has of herself.”

As for the future, Julie plans to remain in touch with her CASA child for a long time. “Even after our formal assignment ends, we plan to stay in touch. We write to each other often and we will continue to be pen pals.” To anyone considering becoming a CASA volunteer, Julie says, “It wasn’t until I became a CASA volunteer that I realized how simple it is to be there for someone who needs it. It makes a huge difference to just be there for someone regularly.”

 

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