Project Hope & Resilience
The authors behind this project are Court Appointed Special Advocates with Colonial CASA in Williamsburg, Virginia. In pursuit of continuing education hours, with husbands in tow, Linda Palmer and Tracy Gharbo attended a presentation at the College of William and Mary by Jelani Freeman, a former foster care child and now a successful attorney. Not many students were there that cold night as final exams were in progress, but that didn’t diminish the power of Mr. Freeman’s story. The emotion was raw and palpable as Mr. Freeman relived his past. Tracy asked if there was a moment or event in his life that changed his downward trajectory and he replied, “Yes. It was a book I read.” From that simple answer, the concept for this book was born. If a book could transform one foster kid, couldn’t it transform others?
The aspiring authors spoke with Mr. Freeman after the lecture and encouraged him to write his story as it could be beneficial for so many children currently in out-of-home care. Mr. Freeman demurred at the idea but said perhaps down the road he might consider it. After months of mulling over the book idea and researching the lack of printed material for teens in foster and kinship care, Linda and Tracy decided there was no time like the present to launch Project Hope & Resilience. At over 6 feet in height with the build of a Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Jelani Freeman became their inspiration and muse.
This book could not and would not be a project without the support from Colonial CASA Executive Director Victoria Canady and Program Director Mary Lou Crosbie. All proceeds will go towards the funding of Colonial CASA programs to help neglected and abused children.
Colonial Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) believes that all children deserve to live in safe and permanent homes. CASA, by way of carefully recruited, trained, and supervised volunteers, provides advocacy services to abused and neglected children in court and in the community to ensure their safe future.
CASA leverages volunteers and their individual strengths, histories, and gifts in pursuit of its mission. Colonial CASA advocates are carefully chosen, trained, and supported by professional staff to effect positive change in the lives of the community’s smallest victims – children of abuse and neglect. All children deserve to live in a safe and permanent home. All children deserve to be protected and nurtured by the adults in their lives. Unfortunately, some children, historically over 150 children per year in our community alone, are found in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court due to findings of abuse or neglect.
It is here that our advocates shine brightly in the dark worlds of these children. Each advocate works with only one or two children or family groups. The advocate researches all areas of the child's life, consults with all professionals involved, and then provides an in-depth report, including recommendations concerning the child's future, to the court. The advocate "speaks" for the child.
Colonial CASA’s goal remains: Safety and permanence for all children. We continue to partner with agencies and individuals in the Historic Triangle to achieve this community vision.