I want to first thank you and your family for allowing us all to be part of your lives and share your voice and spirit with us. Many parents would never allow their young daughter no matter how talented to be in the public spotlight and exposed to the strain that goes along with a career like yours. Thank you Lisa and Mike and the other kids for allowing Jackie to be part of all of our lives.
I struggled as to whether I should write to you or not. I don’t often discuss my job but I thought that this was the right time to share a little of my story with you and how you have changed both the way I am and the kids I work with. I have been a child abuse investigator for the State of Washington for 18 years. Every day I work with young children who have been emotionally or physically molested by adults, older siblings or total strangers. I see a lot of pain and sorry and emptiness in these kids. We call it “dead eyes”. Sometimes they are so damaged and victimized that they can’t even cry. They just sit and stare. After a while you become numb and jaded to the horrors of what you see. You become angry and resentful. Often, I have felt hopeless and inadequate in my ability to protect and help these children.
In November of 2010 when OHN came out I listened to it all the time. The next month in late December I was driving a little girl to a foster home after police had taken her from her abusive parent’s home. I had OHN playing on my CD player. The girl was about 5 or 6 year old. She sat in the car quietly as we drove. She picked up the CD and looked at it. “Who’s this?” She asked. “Jackie Evancho” I said. “She’s pretty” she said. “Yes she is” I answered. “Is this her singing”? pointing to the CD player. “Yes” I said. “She is about your age” , “Wow!!” she said. “My age?” “Yep your age” . “ but She sounds old” she said. “I think she is an old soul” I replied. She was quite again for awhile listening to the music. Then Oh holy night came on. After a while, very quietly and slowly I heard my kid start humming “Oh holy night. The stars are brightly shining…” This kid was singing with Jackie!!!! Unbelievable! For just a moment she was able to forget about the horror and the pain that occurred in her home. For just a brief moment she was just a normal, happy. kid. Thanks to Jackie. What a gift. When we got to the foster home I gave her the OHN CD. I think it helped her transition to her new foster home.
This event changed me too. I still see horrors in my job. I still see “dead eye” kids. But when I think about Jackie and what her voice did for that kid at Christmas in 2010. I have felt more at peace. Jackie was able touched a kid that I never would have been able to reach. She was able to comfort a vulnerable little kid whose world had been turned upside down Since then, I rediscover some of my inner spirit and more confident in what I do. I am more hopeful than before, more humbled and less “jaded”. I think I’m more “Jackie like”. For that I am very grateful.
My little girl eventually left foster care and went to live with her grandmother in another state. I understand that she took the OHN CD with her. She is doing ok now. I think that Jackie made a difference in her life. Thank you and Merry Christmas Evancho’s
State of Washington Child Protection Service Investigator/Social Worker, Musician, and always a Jackie Fan