On a beautiful October day in Washington, DC we watched Khalil's wish come true. Khalil, in foster care due to family issues, desperately wanted to learn to play the violin, a costly activity. But after a few phone calls and a generous offer from Kathy Judd of the Washington Conservatory, we were able to make
Khalil's wish come true. Better yet, Potter's Vioin GAVE HIM his very own violin to keep. All this took place during the first taping of a segment for NBC Nightly News's Making A Difference.
Since the taping, Khalil has continued taking his lessons thanks to the generous support of The Washington Conservatory. However, the lessons are far from Khalil's home and we've found an instructor nearby that is willing to take over.
Please help us make sure Khalil can keep on playing by donating to Khalil's Wish below. 100% of these funds go to Khalil's violin lessons.
Watch the segment that aired on NBC Nightly News Monday, December 3, 2012
From Courthouse to Conservatory: An article by Abigail Hull, CASA of DC
In the wearying-world of social services, where you’re inundated with accounts of abuse and neglect, it’s rare to witness something that is completely and gratuitously “good.” Yet I had the privilege of seeing just such a story unfold this past month.
The timing could not have been more perfect: on a Tuesday morning in early October, I received an email from Khalil’s CASA, Jennifer, about his longtime desire to play the violin. That same day, the director of One Simple Wish – a non-profit dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of children in foster care – asked if we knew of any foster youth with a “particular, experience-based wish” that could be granted on-camera and featured on a segment of NBC’s “Making a Difference” special.
Two weeks (and a couple court-orders later) I met Khalil and an NBC news correspondent at Glen Echo Park for the first of a 17-week course of private violin lessons through the Washington Conservatory of Music. Khalil could not have been more surprised when the Director of the conservatory generously presented him with his very own violin, and the director could not have been more impressed with Khalil: this suit-clad boy from southeast DC was a natural. He immediately picked-up on rhythm and pitch and easily mimicked his teacher’s bowing. The lesson was an unequivocal success.
But the real test of the afternoon – and the only thing that worried me – was the interview. What would they ask? How would Khalil react? What would he say?
I think what struck me most was the look of surprise and awe that surfaced on the news correspondent’s face as Khalil responded to the first question. It’s not often that you hear a twelve-year-old boy refer to the violin as “his voice” – nor would you expect him to describe an instrument as having a “peaceful, but powerful” sound. Within minutes, Khalil had captivated our attention with stories of middle school music classes and the teacher who had inspired him most. With every question, he became more self-assured as he articulately explained his musical aspirations and hopes for the future. The young man before us – the one with the docket number and a broken past – shown with a confidence and charisma that you rarely see. Towards the end of the interview, I watched the One Simple Wish coordinator fumble for a tissue while I wiped away tears. Though it’s hard to express what we felt at that moment, I think it adequate to say that we all felt blessed – from the cameraman, to the correspondent, to Khalil and me.
That Thursday afternoon served as a gracious reminder of why we do what we do – and what we, at CASA, ultimately seek: to see our children and youth flourish. Not simply to see them learn how to read or pass algebra or “survive” their age-out of the system (though these are all good goals), but to see them flourish. To see them healed and whole, willing to forgive and hopeful for the life that lies ahead; to see them restored to their true selves in such a way that they can – in-time and in-turn – give back.
As you engage in your good work this month, and as we approach another year’s end, I encourage you to keep this goal in mind. Please don’t allow yourself to forget the transformative, life-affirming effect you can have on a child.
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