EAST TEXAS —
It's been sixteen years since I retired from the Air Force, but I still serve our country and my community today. I am proud to be a veteran, and I am proud to be a CASA - a court appointed special advocate.
For too many children in our community, their lives feel like they are living in a war zone. They live in dangerous environments. Every eight minutes, a child in Texas is the victim of abuse and neglect; every 56 hours, a child dies from abuse or neglect in Texas. Last year in Texas, 66,398 children and teens were confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect.
The people who should protect them and nurture them can't or don't Instead, these children — more than half under the young age of 15 — are subjected to unimaginable and unconscionable physical, emotional and sexual abuse. They witness drug and alcohol abuse and think that physical violence is acceptable. They don't know when the next assault against them will come and when it does, they are left with deep physical and emotional wounds that take a long time, if ever, to heal.
Just as I stood up for my country as an Air Force nurse, I'm standing up and speaking up for children in my community. It is my privilege to protect and serve the most vulnerable in our society. It is my responsibility to work to break the cycle of violence so that our children have a shot at living the American dream.
I encourage you to join me in the ranks of CASA and speak up for abused and neglected children.
Visit www.BecomeACASA.org or www.casaoftv.org or call our local office at (903) 284-6245 to learn more.
Debra Parrish, Major USAF (Ret)