By: Annalisa Ciro, Follow South Jersey Writer
BRIDGETON, N.J. — Four months. What does four months mean to you? Summer fun? Cozying up by the fireplace while winter storms brew outside? For a teenager in foster care, four months could mean four different placements, four completely new families and faces, three different schools, frequent run-ins with the police, and next to zero consistency.
When Lydia Ramsey joined our team at CASA of CGS, she found her CASA youth while she was on the run. Within four short months, she had been placed in four different homes, started over in three different schools, and ran away four different times–each time, with Lydia finding her before it was too late.
Starting over and over and over, surrounded by unfamiliar people and places, can be traumatic for any child–let alone children who have already endured years of trauma in their own home during their formative years. This lack of consistency is why the stable, supportive advocacy of CASA volunteers is so important for these children. Amidst the turmoil and uncertainty of her CASA youth’s life, Lydia is a familiar, guiding face, always there–no matter what–to support her youth, give her advice, and fight for her best interests.
“Lydia is one of the most reliable, hard-working, and compassionate people I have ever worked with,” said Michele Musick, CASA of CGS Gloucester County Senior Advocate Coordinator. “She is a fierce advocate that is unwavering in the most dire of circumstances. She does this with determination and grace–sprinkled with a little humor–and somehow makes it look and feel easy. To say our CASA youth and families are better for having Lydia on their side is an understatement, and I am so happy she is on my team.”
Lydia has made giving back a priority in both her personal and professional life for as far back as she can remember. From volunteering in clinics during her college years to feeding unhoused people in Philadelphia through Feeding 5000, her friend’s charity, to hosting benefits at her home to raise money for young mothers and for families who have experienced domestic violence, she is no stranger to serving her community, and truly has a heart for giving.
Lydia came across CASA through her work as Program Director of Revisions Youth, a local charity that works with youth with adverse childhood experiences (ACES), matching them with mentors, providing them with healthy outlets, and helping them stay out of trouble.
Driven by her passion for figuring out how to put an end to intergenerational trauma, Lydia puts her all into her advocacy, dedicated to guiding her youth towards a positive future filled with happiness, success, and consistency. And at the end of the day, what makes it all worthwhile for Lydia is the relationship, appreciation, and love she has been able to grow with her CASA youth. Hearing her youth say “I love you” at the end of every phone call is the biggest thank you, and reminds her that she is making a difference, one day at a time.
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