Valentine’s Day is a special day of the year. There are parties, chocolates, cards, and candy with “Be Mine” written on them, but do you know the history of Valentine’s Day?
There are several stories about a priest named Valentine who performed secret marriages when an emperor ordered that no young men should be married because they would be better soldiers in the war. The emperor ordered Valentine to be arrested. There are variations to the end of this story, but most believe that Valentine was thrown in jail and healed the jailer’s daughter, who was blind, just before he was put to death for his crime. This story states that he wrote one final letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed the letter, “From your Valentine”, thus creating the first Valentine card in history.
Valentine can be an example to all of us because he clearly believed in the power of love and of good will. Even at the threat of death he married couples who were in love and provided hope to those who needed it. His story reminds us of the true meaning behind this time of year, which is to inspire and offer hope and love to all.
Becoming involved in CASA is one way that you can offer hope and love to children in need because this is what our volunteers do for the children that we serve. One volunteer in our program had been working with Tracy, a 14 year-old girl and Jack, her 7 year-old brother. Tracy and Jack were removed from their mom due to drug use and neglect. Tracy’s father lived several hours away and was willing to take her into his home, but Jack has a different father who was not involved. Tracy went to live with her father during the case and Jack stayed behind with another family member. It was very difficult for this brother and sister to be separated because, in the years of living with their mom, they had come to rely only on one another. As the case progressed, the CASA volunteer ensured that Tracy and Jack were able to visit with each other regularly and the volunteer even drove Jack to visits with his sister. Finally, after advocating relentlessly throughout a number of months, the volunteer was able to convince other professionals involved in the case that the brother and sister needed to be back under the same roof, even if that meant that Tracy would no longer live with her father. The volunteer spoke to Tracy’s father and explained her position and the father understood the importance of Tracy being with her brother. Tracy and Jack now live with their maternal grandmother and they are very happy to be reunited. Tracy still gets to visit with her father regularly, as well, which makes her happy. Tracy and Jack are now more hopeful than ever that their troubles are behind them and their CASA volunteer is still very involved with this family.
Children like Tracy and Jack are served each day by CASA for the Highland Lakes Area and you can get involved in many ways. Please feel free to contact our office to learn more about CASA and how you can help by opening your heart and sharing your love with a child in need.
Happy Valentine’s Day!