In the spring of 2015, I completed the comprehensive CASA training in Prince George’s County and was officially assigned my first case a few months later. Having been a stay-at-home mom after leaving a career that included Congressional, regulatory and community development experience, I always knew I wanted to work with foster kids once my own children were older because I grew up in the system. I first heard about CASA when I read an ad in the local newspaper, Gazette, seeking CASA volunteers. I thought about it for some time, but then realized this was the perfect opportunity since it would allow me to be an advocate for this populace.
I am now advocating for a young teen who was a victim of physical abuse and neglect, exhibiting behavioral challenges & already in her third home, having been in foster care only a few months. Upon first reviewing the case, I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I was determined to help make a difference in this child’s life. We got off to a rocky start, so as an icebreaker, I took her to the mall and soon discovered it was the best place to talk, grab a bite to eat and develop rapport. It has now become one of her favorite things to do!
As a CASA Volunteer, I am afforded the opportunity to give a voice to the often voiceless, and this has been one of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering in this capacity. I knew this was an important part of my role when my CASA teen texted me several times to be certain that I was going to “speak for her” in the courtroom during her case, and I’m so happy that I was able to be there for her when she needed me. To anyone considering becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate: We NEED You! The need for volunteers doesn’t match the demand; while the work can be challenging at times, it’s so worth it!