David Roberson, a Cedar Hill resident who works in financial software development, is currently working his sixth Dallas CASA case since 2016. For him, the power of advocacy is what keeps him coming back.
You’ve been advocating for two 18-year-old boys. Tell us about that experience.
These guys came into care after their only parent died and there was no one else to take care of them. They are seniors in high school right now, and the future looks really uncertain. They’re very close as brothers and twins, so they want to stay together.
My main thing has been understanding what the future holds for them and then guiding them toward that. The first challenge was finding a foster home willing to take, essentially, two adult men, but Child Protective Services found a very experienced foster mom willing to put in the hard work to get these two young men launched into the world. That’s been a huge blessing for them.
Young people aging out face some unique challenges. How have you navigated some of these challenges?
First, we focused on activities of daily living. Can they wash their clothes? Can they go to the store? Can they get a job? With the wonderful support of their foster placement, they’ve mastered all these things.
Once they were making money at part-time jobs, the next thing they wanted were bank accounts. It has been a journey to get them. First, we had to track down their social security cards and birth certificates, then we made a visit to the bank. But once they had bank accounts, a lot of things were easier. Now they have debit cards, and they can buy things they want and enjoy that freedom. One of the guys says he wants a driver’s license, so that may be our next step. It will probably be more documents to track down!
Now we’re focused on next steps. Do they want to go to college? Which college makes sense? What is realistic in their situation? Is there any sort of independent or transitional living situation that would provide support for them if they go to college? The boys very much want to be adults, so we’re trying to set them up for success.
What do you tell your friends about being a Dallas CASA volunteer?
For me, I feel that if you’re given certain things in life, then it’s incumbent on you to give back to the community. Being an advocate has not always been easy, but I am glad to give back. It gives you perspective on your life and the larger world.
Dallas CASA is always looking to recruit more men to volunteer.
Knowing there were teenage boys in care was actually one of the main reasons I volunteered. These guys need someone to talk to, someone they can relate to and someone who can understand them. I’m happy to do that for them. They know they can call me anytime. There’s such a need for quality role models for young men, and I would encourage more men to step up.