Amy Lombardi knows firsthand the struggles of being a teenager in the child welfare system.
“Younger foster kids […], They’ll most likely get adopted out easier[but]
—teenagers… not so much,” she says.
At age 15, Amy and her brother were placed in a residence program at Cumberland Family Services. Through all the change and instability, Amy remained dedicated to her future. She worked hard in school to improve her grades, joined JROTC, and got a job at the age of 16.
Through it all, her CASA, Machelle, was there to support her in any way she could. Amy remembers meeting with Machelle regularly, going out to eat, talking about her goals, and how much time Machelle spent getting to know Amy. For a child who has been removed from their support system, this kind of quality time can be life-changing. Amy says, “CASA is a support system for this child because this child no longer has anyone there for them. CASA is there for them, for the kids, and their best interest.” She continues, “I believe that’s a good thing for teenagers. They need someone in their life like that because they don’t have anybody else. So, the CASA worker, especially mine, Machelle, she was amazing, and she was always there.”
When it comes to advocacy, though, it takes a village, and Amy had a whole circle of support behind her. Machelle, along with Brent Hill, Amy’s attorney ad litem; and Mark and Marci Kawalek, Amy’s mentors through Cumberland Family Services, all worked to make sure Amy had all the resources and opportunities she needed to succeed as she aged out of foster care.
Machelle helped Amy with college applications, getting scholarships, and set her up with tools to be as successful as possible in the future.
“I had this great support network that my CASA advocate helped build and kept us all together to make sure that it was just something there for me and made me feel like there was someone there guiding me to be where I want to be.”
Amy and her husband photographed with Mark and Marci Kawalek at CASA of Denton County’s Evening of Elegance event in 2023.
Now, Amy has a family of her own. She is a college graduate and works for DATCU Credit Union. It was there that she was reintroduced to CASA of Denton County! Amy heard a presentation at the DATCU employee Christmas party and decided to become a CASA volunteer herself. Since she was sworn in in May 2023, Amy has worked hands-on with children who, like herself, need someone championing their best interests.
Amy was sworn in in May of 2023 and now works hands-on with children who need someone championing their best interests, just like she once had.