Jim had long since retired from the international shipping business when he was sworn in as a CASA volunteer in May 2016. Throughout his life, Jim has enjoyed stability and success, but as CASA volunteer, he now encounters the world in a very different way through the eyes of the young man under his wing.
When Jim met Anyaa, a bright, articulate fifteen-year-old, Anyaa was living in a group home in the Poconos. He was estranged from his mother, who struggled with her own issues, and he didn’t know his father. Anyaa graduated from high school by 16 and attended the local community college for two semesters. Jim worked to ensure Anyaa was appropriately challenged in his studies. When he learned that Anyaa enjoyed playing chess, Jim re-learned the basic moves so they could play during visits. Anyaa wins most matches!
After Jim’s involvement for a period of time, Anyaa was re-located to a facility near the Ohio border. Jim, who’s 73, began making the five-plus-hour drive to visit Anyaa not just once, but twice a month.
Anyaa’s new school district didn’t accept his high school diploma and wanted him to go back to 10th grade. Fortunately, Jim was able to arrange for Anyaa to take the GED test instead. Less than six months later, Anyaa passed the test and was exploring the idea of a career as an EMT.
Because of Jim’s dedication, in June, Anyaa got the chance to walk across the stage to claim the diploma he had earned twice. He is now doing well in the care of a new foster mother in Allentown, where he’s working and again enrolled in community college.