CASA Betty Knight recently received a rare treat. Her 19-year-old youth shared with her the news that he had just beat the odds as a foster child and had been accepted to college.
“I told him that I was so proud of him,” Betty said. “He didn’t say much. He’s a mild-mannered young man with a plan. He wants to make his life better. He’s determined.”
While half of foster children dropout of high school and just 10 percent manage to get into college, Betty’s youth is on track to graduate from high school this spring and then enroll in the fall in Community College.
“I don’t feel like I got him into college. But I helped him. I assisted him. I nurtured him,” said Betty, who since becoming the boy’s CASA a year ago has met with him about once a week, often taking him to dinner and discussing with him his dreams and challenges.
She said he is already looking ahead to go onto a four-year college after community college, with plans to go into law enforcement, possibly as an FBI or CIA agent.
“It’s been like a fairy tale,” Betty said of the boy’s progress and accomplishments, noting that besides being accepted at the community college, he also recently earned a spot on its soccer team. “He eats and sleeps soccer,” she said.
Betty, a retired X-ray technician and a mother and grandmother, became a CASA about a year ago. “I did it because I love children. I love to give back,” she said. “I’ve been so blessed to have this boy. He’s done so well.”
Ann Marie Binsner, executive director of CASA/Prince George’s County, said, “Betty is a model CASA. She cares about her youth. She shows that she cares, and her youth knows that she cares.”
“From Betty’s first day with the boy, she has helped him get ready to transition toward independent living by first graduating from high school, going to college and thinking about a career,” Binsner said.