Bernadette Powell, an active grandmother of three, has put her efforts toward trying to stop the cycle of child abuse that is responsible for the 4,000 children who linger in foster care on any given day. As a Child Advocates, Inc. (CAI) volunteer since 1992, she has positively impacted the lives of many of Houston's most severely abused and neglected children by volunteering more than a thousand hours with CAI. It is estimated that more than 85% of prison inmates were abused as children. Powell works hard to lead the children down a productive path that will discredit this statistic.
As a court appointed advocate volunteer, she is appointed by juvenile court judges to speak up for the rights of Houston's most severely abused children. During her volunteer tenure, she has witnessed abuse in all forms. Powell stands by the children through every step of the judicial process. She has made it possible for children to get into a therapeutic foster home where they can receive individual and group therapy. Because of her willingness to go the extra mile, some even have the chance to be adopted into safe and loving homes.
Bernie has volunteered with children on holidays, including New Year's Day and Christmas Day. She has sat through therapy with a mother about to lose her parental rights. She has located in-home therapy for children and most importantly, she stands before judges and makes vital recommendations for these children's futures.
Bernie is able to reach out to a segment of Houston's society that is often lagging in services because of language barriers. As a Spanish-speaking volunteer, she provides an essential communications link to both the suffering child and the family. Bernie voluntarily takes the time to explain, in Spanish, the foster care and court systems, parenting classes and other family services. She has literally changed the course of children's lives by reducing the amount of time they spend in foster care and ensuring they receive every necessary rehabilitative and educational services.