Austin — Every child needs someone in their life to help their dreams flourish. It was this thought that brought together internationally renowned poet Ebony Stewart, Austin-based performers Riders Against the Storm (RAS) and Jonathan Horstmann with Texas CASA to create an original piece meant to demonstrate the difference one person can make in a child’s life, especially when they share common community bonds. The collaborative poetic music video called “The Imagination Report” makes its debut today via the Texas CASA website and on the organization’s social media channels to coincide with the holidays.
The music video project began when Stewart was inspired to pen her poem entitled the Imagination Report after reading a similarly named report produced in 2017 by Fatherly and New York Life. The report was commissioned to answer the question “What do kids want to be when they grow up?” and surveyed more than 1,200 children. Award-winning hip hop artists Riders Against the Storm (RAS) were moved to put Stewart’s words to music and later the words and music were brought to life in an animated video created by Joseph Howard and produced by the Texas CASA team. With the music video’s release, its creators aim to raise awareness of the impact a CASA volunteer can have on a child’s life and to encourage volunteer sign-ups and monetary donations from the community during this season of giving.
“When I was growing up my mother told me that anything I wanted to do I could. It was a belief she instilled in me that I would call upon again and again whenever I encountered opportunities or faced challenges,” said Vicki Spriggs, Texas CASA CEO. “Through ‘The Imagination Report,’ we want all children to have the same opportunity to hear the voice of someone saying they believe in them and in their dreams. Every child deserves to have this gift. Every child who needs a CASA to serve as this voice in their life deserves to have one.”
For Riders Against the Storm (RAS), “The Imagination Report” video project is a way of honoring the mentors that made a huge impact in their lives and who created a safe space for them to be themselves and pursue their art.
“It’s important to have a mentor in your life and to have someone to encourage you,” said Ghislaine “Qi Dada” Jean, cofounder of Riders Against the Storm (RAS). “We really hope that those who hear and see ‘The Imagination Report’ will be moved to want to support a youth in this way by becoming a CASA.”
To view the full-length “The Imagination Report” music video and learn more about its artists and creators, visit TexasCASA.org/Imagination-Report. The site also features the artists and creators sharing personal video stories about the people who influenced them while growing up. Additionally, the public is invited to share their own stories of the mentors who encouraged them to dream big by creating their own “Imagination Report” video to share online with friends and family. By sharing these inspiring stories, Texas CASA hopes to see an increase in the number of volunteers who are critical to its mission of being able to serve children in the community. To learn how to become a CASA volunteer, visit BecomeACASA.org.
About Texas CASA: Austin-based Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is the statewide organization of 72 local CASA programs that recruit, train and supervise volunteers to advocate for children and families involved in the child protection system. Last year, nearly 11,000 well-trained volunteers served more than 28,500 children in 219 of the 254 Texas counties. Texas CASA supports the local CASA programs by advocating for effective public policy for children and families in the child protection system and by providing funding, training and technical assistance to program staff, board and volunteers. CASA volunteers are everyday members of the community doing extraordinary work to support children and families in their communities. They are screened and trained, then appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of a child or sibling group in the foster care system. CASA volunteers provide a consistent presence for the child and family and advocate first and foremost for reunification with the child’s family of origin when safe and possible.
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