Marie was just six years old when she entered foster care with her three little sisters. All of them had been sexually and emotionally abused and terribly neglected. No one had ever read Marie a book or taught her the numbers or the ABCs. To say she was far behind her peers in school was an understatement. Marci Weinstein, her court appointed advocate, knew Marie needed to catch up fast before it was too late. So she persuaded the school district to place her in special education classes, where she could get the personalized attention she needed to thrive. Marie graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2009. She wrote this note the following spring.
This letter is concerning a wonderful and inspirational person in my life. She has touched my life in a way I do not believe she is aware of. I was very young when I met this person but I am a firm believer that people are put into your life for special purposes.
My name is Marie Sonnier and I am twenty-four years old, I was a child in the custody of Child Protective Services and, out of the many people I came into contact with, she was always there for me and she was consistent with her visitations. I remember her bringing my sisters and I Cookie Bouquets for our birthdays, and every time I see one – even all these years later – I still think of her. She gave me a little green book, called “The Tap Dance Mystery,” when I was still in elementary school. I did not understand the importance of reading, so it took me a while to get to it, but the book impacted my life. The simple story inspired me not to get discouraged when things get hard and to keep going no matter how many times you may fall or how long it may take you. It was that inspiration that helped me go through high school and on to college. In college it was that book that helped me when I did get discouraged and overwhelmed. I graduated in December of 2009 with my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I am now going back to school for my Masters Degree in Counseling. I work for a juvenile delinquency center, helping teenagers who are misguided to find positive direction in their lives.
Thank you, Marci Weinstein for your time and your persistence with me; you never know what impact you may have on a persons’ life and I wanted you to know that you had a gigantic impact on mine. Thank you again; you are a remarkable person.