Volunteer Spotlight: Patricia Schumaker

Patricia SchumakerAge: 68

CASA Program Affiliation: Lower Shore (Worcester County) since 2008

Occupation: I am a 68 year old a retired business owner. Running a business requires energy, motivation and team work.  After I retired I found CASA the perfect way to use my talents; to give back to my community and to help the unheard voices of its children silenced by abuse and neglect.  I love CASA for its purity. There are no agendas, only a child waiting for help.

Motivation for Becoming a CASA Volunteer: Since 2008 I have been the advocate for four children in four separate cases. My first two cases were teenagers; both aging out at 18, with a 10th and 8th grade education respectively. They are both now 24 years old each with two children of their own.  I have helped over the past seven years with job hunts, personal problems, obtaining a driver’s license, securing transportation, and finding homes for them and their children; my biggest hurdle and most heartbreaking was the hunger, homelessness and self-sabotage they both faced. Firsthand experience has shown me, at least in these two cases that abandonment issues are destructive and debilitating and must be addressed for our youth aging out of the system before they are able to successfully face life’s many challenges. Building trust with a child is the cornerstone of a CASA’s work; because of my training my third child was able to trust me with her secret of abuse, successfully stopping her scheduled placement with her abuser.

Current Case: My present case is a young child; after 21/2 years this case will come to a close soon. I have devoted 700 hours to make sure this severely injured child’s voice was heard, and it was. This was my first case where the court was presented with two different opinions as to this child’s placement. Having devoted so many hours with all the parties in this case I was able to give my opinion based on first hand observations and undisputed facts. I am very proud of the outcome of this case, but understand that to help a child requires team work and I feel I have the best.  Over the years I needed feedback, direction, moral support and just someone to listen to my concerns and setbacks; my supervisor never let me down. My success is also hers.