Volunteer Spotlight: Leslie A. Hawes

Leslie 2





Age: 47

Community: Forest Hill

Occupation: Attorney (Currently inactive while I raise my children)

CASA Program Affiliation: Harford County

Motivation for Becoming a CASA: I want to give those children who are lacking in recourses, guidance and opportunity the ability to have a single person in their lives that they can count on to watch out for their interests above all else and to help them navigate through a difficult time in their lives.
Current Case: I have been a CASA for a 19 year old girl for the last 2 1/2 years. During that time, she has gone from being institutionalized for mental health issues to graduating early from high school, completing 2 years of college and succeeding in independent living. She simply needed someone to believe in her and show her that they were there for her through thick and thin.

Challenges Facing Today’s Foster Children & Youth: Having had the most experience with teenagers in foster care, I would say that two of the biggest challenges are a lack of a consistent moral compass in their lives and the inability to gain needed life skills, such as obtaining a drivers’ license. The teenage years are difficult under any circumstances, but are made much harder when a young person is trying to determine who they are, what their values are and where they want to go in life without a strong and consistent voice to guide them in the right direction. A CASA can be that person that makes all the difference by offering several good choices that the foster can choose from for themselves. A CASA can also be instrumental in helping a foster youth to develop skills which are essential to success, such as monthly budgeting, establishing credit and getting a drivers’ license. Guiding a foster youth through these stages can easily make the difference between failure and success for a foster youth as they age out of the system.