CASA Awards for Excellence

The Texas sized ballroom was enormous.

Today we celebrated some of those dedicated to helping abused and neglected children during the annual CASA Awards for Excellence. It was held during the national conference in Texas. CASA CEO, Michael Peraino, and I hosted the affair for 1200 of our closest CASA friends from around the country!

It was a way to thank everyone for the work they do for CASA and to recognize several key people who are out there in the trenches everyday for CASA kids. We honored judges, advocates and other change agents. Afterward, I was able to meet some of the convention speakers including author Tom North.

Tom North’s true life story is much more impactful than the made-up version.

North, is one of eight children, who together with ten Beardsley children, became the basis for the family featured in the 1968 film, “Yours, Mine and Ours.” It starred Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. Later, in 2005, a newer version starring Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid was made.

Following the death of his father when he was 7 years old, Tom says he and the other North children went from a life filled with love and happiness, to living a nightmare. The stepfather’s violence, abuse, and even sexual abuse created a world of intimidation, turmoil and depression for the North children. Not exactly what audiences saw on the big screen.

It was a life, according to North, involving a stepfather with serious mental illness. But due to the movie’s sunny portrayal, the kids had a difficult time telling police about the abuse and an even harder time at home when their “stepparent,” learned they tried to get help. His book it titled, “True North,” and gives an in depth look at a tragic family glorified on the silver screen. It was a good book to begin on the flight home later that day, although painful to read. My wish is this book will educate others and offer hope to those surviving similar circumstances.

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio
Your Mrs. International


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