My One Cent: Caitlyn Ussery
“[These children] had lost everything - their families, siblings, homes, cultures, and no matter where they’d come from, they’d lost all of it to crisis."
December 6, 2017
Caitlyn Ussery is a CARE advocate in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and one of CARE’s 2016 advocacy fellows. She found her way to CARE three years ago while working to find foster homes for unaccompanied refugee children. This is Caitlyn’s My One Cent story:
I’m a licensed social worker. I’ve always been drawn to the “helping” professions. I’ve always wanted to work with children and families who are in crisis or experiencing trauma in their lives. That was instilled in me as a kid through my parents’ example and social work was sort of a natural fit.
I’ve worked at a pregnancy center and an adoption agency that did domestic and international adoptions. Then, I went to work with Catholic Charities in Forth Worth, with families who were becoming foster parents for unaccompanied refugee minors. It’s one of the few programs in Texas that do that. It was incredibly rewarding and that’s where I was introduced to CARE by a colleague and CARE supporter. Again, it just seemed like a perfect fit because the work CARE does in the developing world aligned with the work I do in the state of Texas.
The children I worked with were living in refugee camps in countries where CARE is working halfway across the world. They were being resettled in Fort Worth, Texas with foster families that I licensed and trained to take care of them. The children that CARE is serving in these developing countries were the same children I was serving in Fort Worth. These children needed foster families because they’d completely lost their own families and been forced to flee their countries. They’d lost everything - their families, siblings, homes, cultures, and no matter where they’d come from, they’d lost all of it to crisis.
We’ve been resettling children and families in Fort Worth for three years and have seen an influx of stateless people. These refugee children…I’ve worked with them. I’ve seen them. I’ve heard their stories. I’ve counseled them. Children from Guatemala, Honduras, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These are all places where CARE is working too.
When I was introduced to CARE, it felt like a way to be part of something even bigger than I was already part of in Texas. It felt like an honor to advocate for these children. I also had the privilege to be part of CARE’s advocacy fellowship group that traveled to Benin in April 2016. The trip was an incredible, life changing experience. My proudest moment as a CARE advocate was being able to go on that trip.
Hopefully, by being a part of CARE and advocating for these children and foreign assistance on the legislative level, who knows? Maybe, I’ll work myself out of a job. Maybe, because of the work CARE does, these children won’t be forced to flee their homes. And for those children still in refugee camps it helps to know that CARE will be there before, during and after their crisis or natural disaster.
Working with these children and as an advocate for CARE gives me the opportunity to go outside my bubble to address these issues on a much larger, global level.