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I know our system is far from perfect. I know our city is increasingly riddled with crime. I know the task ahead is unsurmountable if acting alone. I know if I focus on the negative, I will lose hope. It is all in how we choose to see it. As I have been out and about as a CASA seeking to make a small contribution to my community, I continually see a community of which I am proud to be a part. It is from my heart that I want to thank those who I have noticed, ever so quietly, making a difference — those that make me “Billings proud.”

Thank you:

  • to the social worker whose door is always open.
  • to the attorney who tracked down the client who left their scarf and gloves in the court room.
  • to the individuals who became foster parents and altered their own lives for the sake of another.
  • to whomever mysteriously donates the hats, coats, gloves, backpacks, personal items, Pjs, books, toys, blankets, and gift cards to the CASA office for our kiddos in need.
  • to my fellow CASAs whose hearts ache like mine.
  • to our eight judges of the 13th Judicial District who respect my input as a CASA and treat each case with utmost dignity and respect.
  • to the security guard at the courthouse elevator who kindly gave directions to the frantic person who needed to know where to go for a copy of their birth certificate.
  • to the fellow CASA who plugged my meter so I wouldn’t miss my hearing.
  • to the group of professionals who sat around the mediation table and shed tears with a mom as she signed documents relinquishing her rights.
  • to the group home manager who is so obviously invested in those little souls in her home.
  • to the legal assistant and attorney who located the lost baby bottle.
  • to the guardians ad litem whose case load is unfathomable yet I have never had one email go unanswered.
  • to the teachers and aides at our Billings schools who patiently teach and love each and every day.
  • to the daycare provider who loves those little people like her own.
  • to the CASA staff who are continuously available for support even on the weekend.

Becoming a CASA has renewed my faith in our community. It is all about perspective. Yes, our community is being inundated with crime as never before. My heart grieves over this. But, remember, negativity and positivity use up the same amount of energy. The difference is one will drain you and the other will fill you up. I see our city working together in so many ways. I will choose to focus on the good and not let the unrest that so prevalently exists weigh me down. Together we have got this.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” Fred Rodgers

Corinna Byler was sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in 2015 and is currently a volunteer Peer Coordinator.