CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Alisha Madia thought she wanted to be a nurse when she was a kid.
“I always said I would be a nurse, and then I ended up switching gears and went to psychology,” said Madia.
She worked with the homeless, shelters, and domestic violence victims. Then, she met someone who changed her life.
“I worked, actually, at a homeless shelter and met my now-daughter and saw how the system she had kind of gotten lost in a system,” said Madia. “I realized she needed a voice and needed someone to step up.”
Madia decided to be that voice, and that’s when she learned about CASA.
Madia, who was a teen mom of two kids of her own, eventually adopted her daughter and then became the executive director of Harrison County CASA. The program aims to keep some stability in a child’s life that is mostly unstable due to foster care. Madia had an example of this that happened just days before her interview with 12 News.
“Last weekend, I went to a basketball game of a child I have that’s in a shelter, and he kept looking around and waving at me. All the time, he just kept scanning the crowd and waiving. I know, in my heart, on days I’m not there, he doesn’t have anyone in that crowd,” said Madia.
She drove hours away from Harrison County just to watch the game of one of the kids going through the CASA program.
“If I can give up my Saturday and know that that made the child look up and know someone was proud of him, I’d give every Saturday up for that,” said Madia.
Madia has chosen not to foster to avoid conflict of interest, but she hopes to one day move to a bigger home where her family can foster again. In her position, she said she’s had some rewarding days.
“That’s the most rewarding when you see these children that have longed for a family, get a family. You can’t put it in words what it feels like,” said Madia.
And some difficult days.
“I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of days that are really hard. You know, you hear these stories, you see terrible things happening to children day after day. But one thing is, once you see those faces and you know. People say, ‘I don’t know how you do that.’ If not me, who? If not you, who?” said Madia.
On top of this, she also battled almost a year’s worth of health issues of her own. Madia says she’s doing better now.
Her advice for women out there?
“I think anything you can put your mind to, you can do, whether there are roadblocks. Like I said, I was a teen mom, and I had many people say ‘and you’ll never accomplish anything. You’ll not make it through college because you’re starting out with two, small children.’ I put my mind to it, and it strived me to prove them wrong, really. Don’t doubt yourself,” said Madia.