1. What made you decide to become a CASA?
There is a great need to speak up on behalf of abused and neglected children in our community. The question becomes, “How can I make a difference?” After reading an article about CASA, I attended an Information Session where I was inspired to become part of the CASA Team. Being a CASA Advocate allows me the opportunity to have an immediate impact in the lives of children. It is also a privilege to meet and encourage their families and caregivers. I am blessed to be an adoptive parent, and deeply appreciate the good work being done everyday by CASA and CPS.
2. What is your professional/volunteer background?
I retired after 35 years with American Airlines. Recently, my children were thrilled to receive backpacks filled with school supplies donated to CASA by AA. Through the years, I have loved volunteering with children as a Girl Scout leader, AWANA teacher, and with church & school programs.
3. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of becoming a CASA?
Please know that the need is immediate. More than 300 children are currently waiting on a volunteer advocate to stand in the gap and be their voice. Being a CASA is a unique and multifaceted volunteer role. In addition to attending an Information Session, I spoke with a current CASA who provided valuable insight. CASA will fully equip you with training, continuing education opportunities and mentorship with a CASA Specialist. The need for consistency, flexibility and dedication to all aspects of your case cannot be overemphasized. This is the most meaningful and life changing volunteer work I have ever experienced.
4. What has been the most challenging part of being a CASA?
My CASA children have endured the challenges of being separated from one another, and individually relocated multiple times. I have partnered with their school counselors and teachers, foster parents and kinship, and my CPS caseworker to advocate for each child’s circumstance. The positive outcomes are well worth the time commitment of building foundational relationships with everyone.
5. What has been the most rewarding part of being a CASA?
Every aspect of helping children thrive and succeed in the midst of hard circumstances is rewarding. It is pure joy to celebrate the children’s accomplishments, both in school and at home, with them. I am thankful for the opportunity to mentor, and offer words of encouragement and hope. It is rewarding to see partnerships form between kinship and foster parents on behalf of the children’s best interests. My CASA Specialist is so wonderful to work with. She communicates with our team frequently, is readily available to answer questions or collaborate on court reports, truly exemplary in every way.
6. Please share a special moment with us about your advocacy work with your CASA kid or on your case.
My CASA child discussed with me selecting Band as an upcoming middle school elective. However, due to his relocation to a new ISD, and delay in file transfers, his elective was overlooked. When I met him for lunch at school, he was disappointed with his schedule. As his CASA, I coordinated with a pro-active school counselor and teachers, located an instrument, and am pleased he is now a proud Band member! I, along with his family, are looking forward to attending his first concert.
7. Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or the CASA experience?
The opportunity to advocate for each precious child is life changing. I am grateful to be a small part of the great work CASA is accomplishing. As a CASA Ambassador, I eagerly encourage others to become involve
“Pam is by far one of the most thoughtful and intentional individuals that I have the pleasure of working with. Even though the children on her case are in four separate placements, Pam never misses a chance to spend time with and invest in each child. And not only has Pam built great relationships with the children and their caregivers, but the caseworker and attorney ad litem told the Judge that Pam was “SuperCASA.” It is a joy to work with an advocate so dedicated not only to seeing that every child’s voice is heard in the courtroom, but to making sure that every child knows that their voice has been heard. Pam, you are a real-life superhero!!”—Child Advocacy Specialist Allie Jackson