When Aly Winningham and her spouse decided to adopt a child from foster care they did not realize just how much of a difference a CASA volunteer could make for their growing family. A girl from our area was placed with the family during the summer of 2014 and one of our local CASA advocates, Cindy Lomicka, was assigned as the advocate for this 5 year old.
Such a young, little girl, but in her short life she had already experienced so much. She initially had some trouble adjusting to the home and changes of any kind are still difficult for her. Emotionally, she struggled to express her feelings in a healthy and positive way, something that is very common for children who have been victimized the way that this precious girl had been. Today though, this angel is doing much better. Her adoptive parents have provided her with a stable and loving home, one that is predictable and one that feels safe.
When asked about their experiences during the journey to become a forever family Aly stated “I do believe that our experience would not have been nearly as smooth without our CASA volunteer. She really filled in the gaps, so to speak, where communication was lacking or connections may have been lost. It’s just a wonderful organization and we are grateful!”
Because of her belief in the CASA organization she decided to give back in a creative way. You see, Aly is a very talented mosaic artist and her work can be enjoyed in many notable places throughout Austin! You might see her work while visiting Whole Foods or strolling along the sidewalks of East Austin, the popular shopping area of The Domain or in the Downtown area too! You can also catch a glimpse of some of her pieces in other towns across Texas, including Fort Worth and San Antonio! Her artwork truly is beautiful and her popularity is growing. Aly has been participating in Austin’s Armadillo Christmas Bazaar for the past several years. The Bazaar features artists and musicians and creates a fun and eclectic atmosphere to enjoy some Holiday shopping.
This year, Aly was hired to create a promotional piece for the Bazaar and her mosaic can be seen around Austin on promotional materials. This piece will be auctioned live at the Bazaar, but bids were also collected prior to the bazaar. Bidding started at $1,500 and increases in $100 increments. The exciting part of all of this for CASA is that The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar company has asked that Aly choose a nonprofit to donate 10% of the final sale price to and she chose Texas CASA. What an honor it is for Aly to have chosen Texas CASA because of her own personal experiences with a CASA volunteer, especially with a volunteer from our Highland Lakes Area program!!! Aly stated “I chose CASA because as a foster to adopt Texas citizen it was a very near and dear to my heart organization. I know that they are volunteers and if there weren’t people willing to volunteer it wouldn’t happen. I wish I could take them all in”, referring to abused and neglected children. “CASA made the process of creating our forever family much easier and added a personal touch that CPS, foster care agencies and lawyers can’t always do so well because their job description gets in the way”.
Again, this is such an honor! From the bottom of our hearts we wish this family lasting love and happiness!!!
Thank you so much, Cindy Lomicka, for all of your hard work and dedication to your CASA kids as their advocate! Cindy advocated tirelessly for this young girl and we know that it was not an easy road. However, it is truly evident that she made a huge difference for a child in need!