Volunteer Spotlight: Ellen G. Krawczak

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Ellen G. Krawczak, Volunteer for Lower Shore CASA (Worcester County)

Name: Ellen G. Krawczak

Service Site: Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, Inc.

How long have you been a CASA volunteer?  Approximately 5 years.

Work Experience outside of CASA: I was a paralegal who worked at a brokerage firm, a consumer finance company and a law firm. After I had children I did substitute teaching.  Later on I became a title insurance agent, conducted real estate settlements and taught real estate continuing education.  I am now enjoying retirement.

How did you hear about CASA, and what made you decide to volunteer? When I retired and moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore I wanted to do volunteer work. A friend recommended CASA, and I thought that I would like that because it combines my interest in education and children with my paralegal background.

Describe your current case: I am currently assigned a six year old child who resides with his grandmother due to some difficulties that the birth mother is experiencing. I was just assigned this case and have not as yet met any family members.

What sorts of activities have you and your CASA child/youth enjoyed together? My favorite activity was several years ago when I was assigned two teenage girls. Another CASA was assigned the baby of one of the teens.  The teens and the two CASA’s planned a family dinner, and the CASA office let us use their kitchen and meeting room.  We worked together on invitations, menu planning, deciding who was going to bring what dish, etc.  It was fun and I think that the girls  and their family had a good time. The girls learned how to set a table and a bit about party planning.

What is the most rewarding part of being a CASA volunteer? Knowing that you make a positive difference in the life of a child, introducing a child to another way of life, and just being a resource for him or her.

What is one thing you would say to someone else interested in volunteering? Being a CASA is rewarding and challenging. We are always learning from our child or our fellow CASA’s.  These children are our future.

What are CASA volunteers doing to help overcome the challenges faced by today’s youth? We continually have in-service training covering different aspects of our collective cases – from aging out of the system, to mental health and suicide issues, to substance abuse, etc. Knowledge is power, and the more that we learn, the more we can better understand the youth we serve.