How long have you been a CASA? I have been a CASA since 2009
Number of cases you’ve worked on: 7
Number of children you’ve worked with: 7
Why did you decide to become a CASA and why do you continue to give your time to CASA? I decided to become an advocate because I had recently changed careers. I went from working as a pediatric occupational therapist with special needs children in public schools, to working in my family’s business as an inn keeper. I was looking for a way to stay involved with children and the community. I felt that my knowledge and experience around child development would be a good fit with the CASA organization.
I continue to give my time to this organization because there are so many children in our community who are impacted by abuse and neglect. Now more than ever due to the increase of drug misuse, many children are getting caught up in the drama and upheaval of their parent’s lives. These children need someone who is focused on them and will speak on their behalf in the court system to try to insure they have the best outcome possible, enabling them to grow and develop in a safe and nurturing home.
Tell us about a learning experience you’ve had as a CASA. I have learned a lot about the court system, DCYF and Easter Seals. I have met many dedicated people who are working toward providing safe homes for kids as well as trying to help parents get the assistance they need to care for themselves and their kids.
Share a memorable outcome from one of your cases, or, if your case hasn’t closed yet, something positive you’ve seen come from your case so far. I worked with a mother whose child was removed from her care due to substance misuse and child neglect. This mother had struggled with alcohol for many years, but when this happened to her, it was the wake-up call she needed. It was amazing to watch her turn herself around and do everything she needed to do to get herself and her home back on track and to be reunited with her child. There are so many parents who are struggling with substance misuse and sometimes need a little help to make things right. It is so nice when they are able to do that and families can remain safely together.
What would you say to encourage someone who has been thinking about becoming an advocate? If you have ever considered becoming a CASA volunteer, just do it! There is such a huge need and you will feel great when you are part of a team that either helps a family become safe and stable again, reunites a child back with their parents or when you participate in finding a new forever home for a child.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the thought of being in court. It was an unfamiliar place for me at first, but the CASA staff is wonderful at training and supporting you at all times. CASA of NH is a fantastic organization to volunteer for. They care deeply for the children of this state and for their volunteers.