No one said being a CASA volunteer was easy, but this week’s volunteer spotlight Pamela Alemu makes it look effortless! Pamela has been working with CASA of Baltimore County, Inc. for three and a half years and doing an amazing job!
Pamela’s journey to CASA began when she worked for the Social Security Administration. She attended a volunteer fair there with CASA represented, and although she couldn’t volunteer at the time, she knew that getting involved with CASA would be a great opportunity when she retired. Fast-forward to 2011 when the time came for Pamela to retire and rekindle her relationship with CASA of Baltimore County!
Her current CASA child is a sixteen year old boy whom she has been advocating for since he was twelve. Pamela says that when she first met him, he wasn’t doing well at the middle school he attended and was in danger of being suspended, or even worse, expelled. With great time, care, and effort, however, Pamela’s CASA child has since done a complete turnaround, having graduated with honors from his middle school, earning the title of valedictorian.
Currently he is in high school preparing to attend college after graduation; Pamela is working with him to keep up that enthusiasm. He wants to be a civil engineer so Pamela took him to Morgan State University to tour the campus with the head of the School of Engineering. He was able to meet the professors, see the classrooms, and learn the course expectations. Now he knows what kind of work the program requires and he can continue to work toward his future.
When Pamela and her CASA youth aren’t touring a college campus, they enjoy doing a variety of activities together. Sometimes they go to a museum, to lunch, to a basketball game, or to the Inner Harbor. Pamela says they’re both big movie fans so they enjoying watching the latest films together. The next step is to see a play, but she’s had some trouble convincing him to go.
“Maybe that will come later on,” she says with a chuckle.
On her journey to CASA, what life experiences have helped her in her work, you might wonder? She states that raising her daughter, working with youth programs within her church, and coming from a close family are what have helped her the most.
“Working with youth has become second nature to me,” she says.
Now that Pamela is volunteering with CASA does she find it fulfilling? Of course! She really enjoys working with her CASA youth and watching him accomplish his goals.
“I see them after they have gone through a traumatic life experience and it’s my job to make his life as normal as possible. I want him to experience all the good things that exist for a child in life,” she says.
In addition to volunteering as a CASA, Pamela enjoys taking self-enrichment classes at Notre Dame of Maryland. Twice a week she has lessons in fun topics such as ballet and art. It keeps her mind engaged and allows her to meet similar people to herself.
So, to anyone considering volunteering with CASA but hasn’t applied yet, Pamela has some advice… “Be sure you want to make a total commitment, don’t be another disappointment to them; they’ve had enough disappointments in life. Be consistent, listen to what they have to say, and always follow through on your promises. Be truthful because kids know when you’re being honest with them. Just be the stabilizing figure in their lives that they need!”
Thank you Pamela for always going above and beyond for your CASA child, it is volunteers like you that make this organization great!