What was your motivation for becoming a CASA volunteer:
My wife and I have always been passionate about CASA and the work they do for children. Our two sons had severe special needs stemming from a rare syndrome that significantly shortened their lives. And as their Dad, I believe that I developed a heightened level of empathy for children in need as a result of this experience. After our boys passed, I knew I wanted to serve children in some way that would, hopefully, make a difference in their lives. Being a CASA is just my way of giving back.
Favorite moment with my appointed child:
There have been several memorable occasions that have brought a smile to my face and reminded me that my involvement in this child’s life is having an impact. The child I serve is extremely insightful, making comments on things that I am often impressed he would even notice. Recently, this child was being fitted for something and I kept intervening to make sure everything was just right. I think we went through three, maybe four, attempts to get the right fit. Finally, he blurted out, “always the perfectionist” followed by a huge smile. This moment of connection made me realize that he is aware of my involvement and he is mindful of the way in which I interact with him.
What would you tell others considering becoming a CASA Volunteer?
Overall, I would say that there are definitely peaks and valleys, and if you can ride out the valleys, the peaks are so incredibly worthwhile. I also recommend that you truly understand the role of an advocate, embrace it, and be prepared to listen and learn. These are real-time cases that often present very bleak circumstances. As an advocate, you must try to place yourself in that child’s life to truly understand what they are going through. The payoff is looking into the eyes of these precious children.