BY JERÉ ANTHONY
All it takes is for one person to do something incredible to make an impact. One small person can be the catalyst for change and inspire others to create a chain reaction. Last week I was privileged to meet a 10 year old girl who created a spark of hope in our community. Unbeknownst to her, Zuleyah Minor may have just started something, and I can’t wait to see what happens from here.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a sweet mother of a child who wanted to solve a problem that she was informed of in a school assembly: if a child has not learned to read by the third grade it is most likely they will not graduate from high school. The mother told me that her daughter, Zuleyah, wanted to organize a drive to collect books and socks for children in foster care. She asked if CASA of Northeast Louisiana would be able to use these items. I told her that we would definitely put those items to good use. What I didn’t tell her was how desperately the children in the foster care system need to be remembered and how great an impact this simple gesture would be on them.
What people may not know is that the children that we serve in the CASA program have been removed from everything that they have ever known, often times taken out of school and placed into a different one. Not only are they having to adjust to a new lifestyle with complete strangers, but they are also adjusting to a new school with new teachers, classes and peers. This unfortunate situation is often compounded when they are split up from their siblings. I don’t know about you, but this makes my heart wrench. With all of that being said, I can honestly say “Yes they would love to be thought of by a complete stranger and they would love to receive a sweet gift…just because”.
The book and sock drive was a phenomenal success and we were overwhelmed by the response. However, the effect of inspiration and hope was not found in the tangible items, but in the thoughtfulness and compassion shown by our community. All it takes is for one person to stand up to make a difference. I am so proud to be a part of a community where this kind of act is encouraged and I am hopeful for a future where people join together to take a stand for the less fortunate. I encourage everyone to consider taking initiative like sweet little Zuleyah.
All it takes is a small spark to ignite a blaze of hope.