Children are a Gift: Cassidy - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Children are a Gift: Cassidy

Posted: Updated:

TYLER (KYTX) – A former foster girl from Texas has chosen not to be defined by her past but, instead, is defining her future by taking advantage of every chance she gets. Cassidy Mack is now making a name for herself after spending six tough years in foster care.

"I thought the older I got the less my chances are of being adopted and I was very scared of that," said Cassidy.

As her wait for a forever family continued, Cassidy began to put up a wall so the hurt wouldn't go deeper.

"As a child in foster care, you learn to trust no one and to protect yourself, which is what I had to do. I learned how to be pretty tough and form a protective shell around myself. This made me look like damaged goods, but inside I was just this little girl who wanted to feel loved and accepted. I wanted to belong somewhere."

Her wish would soon come true at 6-years-old. "I didn't know there was actually a family out there looking for me and when I found that out I was like oh I'm going to get adopted! I'm so excited!"

Cassidy is the second daughter adopted by the Mack family. They also have two biological daughters.

"I feel like it is a privilege to give a kid a better life," said Mike Mack, Cassidy's dad. "Nothing is more rewarding than that to me."

Her mom, Jenn, added, "Building your family through adoption is an amazing experience. Adopting older children from foster care is a blessing. As a Mom, I can honestly say, there is no difference in the love that I have for any of my girls, whether they came to me biologically or through adoption."

Jenn and Mike gave Cassidy the chance she'd been waiting for. Speaking about her new parents Cassidy said, "He's my hero and she's my best friend. They are the most loving people I've ever met."

Her forever family helped her find her passion and purpose in life, which turned out to be acting.

"When I started to do acting and audition for films and television it was amazing. I really saw that I had a gift and I didn't know."

She has now starred in several movies, commercials and a just released video from Disney's "Make Your Mark" which spreads the word about adoption. In the video she said, "In foster care, I thought if I ever get out of here I want to give back."

Now, at just 14-years-old, she is giving back after starting her own foundation called Love Gives Chances.

"It's about empowering the foster youth and encouraging adults to adopt from the foster care system," explained Cassidy.

She designed two pendants; one is called the Survivor Pendant which she sends to foster children giving them hope. The Supporter Pendant raises funds to help foster children reach their dreams.

Cassidy said, "With the money from the foundation, I put that money into scholarships whether kids like acting, singing, dancing art, whatever they like those scholarships can take them to camps for their exact dreams and passions whatever their purpose is."

This former foster child is now making a difference as an advocate for adoption.

"Oh I'm so proud of her everyday," said Jenn. "Yesterday I was with her in Washington, DC where she was speaking on Capital Hill for the second time in two months. Last month she received a huge award by the National Congressional Coalition on Adoption called Angels in Adoption. I told her this doesn't happen to 14-year-olds. I'm just extremely proud of her and every time I see her speak and share her message it reiterates to me that she's exactly where she's supposed to be."

She was invited to share her story at the Smith County National Adoption Day in November. She told the foster children being adopted that day, "Like all of you, I am a survivor. I am a survivor of my own journey through the foster care system. My birth mom was too sick to take care of me. I never knew my birth dad, and I lost a sister to the system as well. God did answer my prayers. A wonderful family did come along to adopt me."

This budding actress took time for pictures, autographs, but most of all shared inspiration. Just before a young girl was adopted, Cassidy gave her one of her Survivor Pendants bringing the girl to tears.

Cassidy Mack is a young rising star, already shining light on the dark issue of children in foster care and bringing hope when there seems to be none.

"I want to show parents and adults this is what a child from foster care can make for herself, in that she can do some pretty awesome stuff all you have to do is give her a chance."

A chance, that starts with love!

if you would like more information on Cassidy's Love Gives Chances foundation, click here.

Cassidy's latest movie is coming out soon titled Zoey to the Max. It's about a foster child who gets adopted. She said it was an easy character to play because she just had to be herself.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Jacksonville Communications Officer Killed in One Vehicle Crash

    Jacksonville Communications Officer Killed in One Vehicle Crash

    Monday, April 14 2014 11:31 PM EDT2014-04-15 03:31:53 GMT
    SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) -- DPS says a woman is dead after a crash Monday afternoon.  It happened just before 2:00 p.m. at the intersection of Mixon Road and Yarborough Lane in Smith County.  At this pointMore >>
    A Jacksonville Police communications officer has died after a crash Monday afternoon.
    More >>
  • Family remembers Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties

    Family remembers Fort Hood shooting victim with Illinois ties

    Thursday, April 3 2014 10:35 PM EDT2014-04-04 02:35:25 GMT
    EFFINGHAM (WCIA)  -- One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in central Illinois. Family members say 37-year-old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary in Effingham.  Owens'More >>
    One of the victims in a deadly shooting in Fort Hood went to school in central Illinois. Family members say 37-year-old Army Sergeant Tim Owens went to Southside Elementary in Effingham.More >>
  • Hallsville Student Finds Used Needle on School's Playground

    Hallsville Student Finds Used Needle on School's Playground

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-04-19 23:43:25 GMT
    HALLSVILLE (KYTX) - A situation to make any parent worry. Pamela Kelly says her 4 year old son came home from school recently with a hole in his hand. Tyler Kelly goes to Pre-K here, at the Little Cats Learning Center in Hallsville. Kelly says since coming forward with this news,she has received thanks from other parents."They have been extremely thankful. So they can be more proactivand morere on the look out." - Pamela Kelly, Tyler'Mom Thehe school made this statement to CBS 19 via email. T...More >>
    HALLSVILLE (KYTX) - A situation to make any parent worry. Pamela Kelly says her 4 year old son came home from school recently with a hole in his hand. Tyler Kelly goes to Pre-K here, at the Little Cats Learning Center in Hallsville. Kelly says since coming forward with this news,she has received thanks from other parents."They have been extremely thankful. So they can be more proactivand morere on the look out." - Pamela Kelly, Tyler'Mom Thehe school made this statement to CBS 19 via email. T...More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2004 - 2014, WorldNow and KYTX, Owned and Operated by London Broadcasting Company.
All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.