Three years ago, someone asked Francisco Martinez Carreon if he wanted something called CASA.
He said "sure," but the then-16-year-old foster youth had no idea what he was getting into.
He also didn't realize that he had invited into his life a man who planned to stick with him forever — a future mentor and older friend who would encourage scholastic achievement while enjoying a movie or maybe a show with Francisco at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Carreon had said yes to meeting John Gabriel, a Costa Mesa resident and volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County.
"When you have a kid, you have a kid. I don't say to my kids at 21, 'See ya,'" Gabriel said.
Unlike Carreon, Gabriel, 72, knew exactly what he was getting into. He had been through two weeks of training and had given a lot of thought to volunteering for CASA's county chapter in Santa Ana.