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“Ben” : One Teenager’s Journey
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“Ben” is a teenage boy who was struggling with peer pressure in school. As the days and weeks of the school year passed, Ben more frequently cut classes, starting using marijuana, and got into trouble with authorities. One weekend, Ben snuck away from home and met his friends in a local park to party and smoke marijuana. Early the next morning, the police found Ben asleep on a park bench.

Shortly after the local county agency investigated and took Ben into custody, the Judge ordered the appointment of a CASA, preferably a male. Ben had never truly had a male role model or authority figure in his life. The CASA was Ben’s first experience with consistent interactions with a male in his adolescence. The CASA met with Ben regularly to discuss his feelings towards his current placement and how he could improve his own situation by making better decisions.

Ben did not have an easy transition in making positive decisions. During placement, he made several poor choices that indicated to the Judge he was not making positive changes and progress in his life. Finally, the CASA was able to speak with Ben very candidly about the impact his decisions were having on his own future, his grades, and most importantly, his family. After several discussions, Ben and his CASA were able to develop life goals he hoped to achieve and strategies to avoid peer pressure.

At the next court hearing, Ben had made so much progress, the Judge was willing to let him return to his home and discontinue agency intervention. Because of Ben’s CASA, he was able to see that he could amount to his dreams if he just focused on himself.

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