June 5th, 2006
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We were almost on ABC’s World News Tonight. Still awaiting word if it aired or is going to air in the near future. Meanwhile, ABC did come through for a deserving family in the Peyton, CO area last July.

Billy Jack and Anne Barrett opened their homes and hearts to two children that had experienced serious neglect in their early lives, and their caregivers struggled with substance abuse. A.J. and Jennifer were both fortunate to have CASAs involved in their cases. Initially, A.J. needed professional therapy for RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder. More info on RAD, from our own RAD blogger, Nancy.), and Jennifer needed medical attention for her diabetes.

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Both A.J. and Jennifer were leary of trusting adults, and both were institutionalized. A.J. and Jennifer’s extreme makeovers began as their CASA volunteers (from the Pikes Peak Region) took the time to get to know them and advocate for the resources and healing family environment that they both desperately needed.

The CASAs were the only ones still involved in their cases, after several years and many moves. Today, A.J. wants to be a Marine and Jennifer would like to be a chef, thanks to the love and caring of the Barrett family.

In an interview with the Air Force Link (Billy Jack is the manager of the Air Force Academy Equestrian Center), he said

“We were told by experts these children would be institutionalized and on medication their entire lives. We brought them into our family ad put them in the corral cleaning stalls and brushing horses. They accepted responsibility for the horses and it made all the difference. It does wonders for their self-esteem. Working with the animals, in this environment, is what really helped us pull these kids out of where they were”.

The children wrote and nominated the Barretts for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition TV show, out of love and gratitude for their new family. As part of the show last fall, the 101 year old farm house with one and a half bathrooms was demolished and replaced with a new ranch house. It’s twice the size of the original home, and included was a 600 square foot red schoolhouse, where Mrs. Barrett can home-school the kids.

What the TV show did for the Barretts’ home is a metaphor for what has happened in the lives of the Barrett children. Clearly, they deserved a new home. Now, thanks to CASA, the courts and the TV show, they have realized both dreams of a family and a home.

Reprinted with permission.

Here is some html code that I found that you can use to tag your blog posts as you write them. You need to enter the tags manually, but it sure beats going back and tagging later. Here is the code:

Technorati tags: / /

2 Responses to “Extreme Makeover – CASA Style”

  1. Bill, I watched the show as it was taped here and the family isn’t far from us, and cried. It was wonderful.

  2. Comments here on many fronts….

    One, thanks for the referral! Much appreciated….

    Two, hope their home was well-built. I watched some long term coverage of a family who had their home redone by the show and it was a complete and total disaster! They had a son in a wheelchair and there were so many things done in an unsafe way, and done only for looks that fell apart immediately… it was unreal. Even the viewers observing it from taped footage could see the mess it was.

    Three, CASA’s (if you get good ones) are awesome!

    Four, I have been known to apply a little “manure therapy” a time or two myself!

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