Amy is on two cases and goes above and beyond to advocate for the children on both cases. Amy has been recognized by CPS on multiple occasions for being a tremendous help to caseworkers. Not only does Amy advocate for the children on her cases but also their parents to help achieve family reunification. Amy is dedicated to advocating for every child she comes in contact with and that is evident through her work as an advocate. – Naomi Sawyer, Child Advocacy Specialist
1. What made you decide to become a CASA?
About a year ago I was chatting with a friend about a child I knew that was going through a very rough time. I was concerned that she no longer had anybody in her life who could speak up for her. My friend told me about CASA and suggested that I check into becoming an advocate. Once I learned more about CASA and what the advocates are able to do to help children, I knew I had to be a part of the wonderful change they were bringing about for children.
2. What is your professional/ volunteer background?
I have worked in accounting, finance, and human resources for over 25 years and I have always enjoyed helping people in my professional roles. In my personal life, I led a Bible study group for single parents and their children for many years. After I stopped doing that, I knew I still needed to find a place to help in the community and CASA was the answer to a prayer.
3. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a CASA?
Go to an information session! Get all your questions answered, and then commit to doing this if you think it is the right thing for you. I promise you that it is so worthwhile!
4. What has been the most challenging part of being a CASA?
Being a CASA is wonderful, but it is probably the most challenging role I have ever taken on in my life. The roller coast of emotions that I feel as I work to help the children on my case can be intense. There are days filled with excitement and hope and other days filled with disappointment and delays. Managing these emotions without letting them impact the children on the case or my own personal life can be tricky. My nature is to want to "fix it" right now for the children on my case and dealing with delays and restrictions can be frustrating, but remembering that this is a marathon and not a sprint helps.
5. What has been the most rewarding part of being a CASA?
Watching children learn to trust and thrive amidst very difficult circumstances and knowing that the work I do to advocate for them plays a part in that is so very rewarding. It takes several people working for these children, including their caseworker, their ad litem, their placement, and many others to achieve results. Being able to speak up for them and keep their best interests in mind during every conversation is an honor and a privilege.
6. Please share a special moment with us about your advocacy work with your CASA kid or on your case?
The youngest child in the sibling group on the first case I took was just under a year old when she came into care. She was not walking and her progress toward that just seemed to stall for several months after coming into care. She did not qualify for ECI, so her placement and I talked about many different things to do to help her start walking. When she was 17 months old, they FaceTimed me one night so that I could watch her take some of her very first steps. It was so special because they knew how much it meant to me and wanted to share that moment with me. She is now almost two and is running circles around her foster parents and siblings, so she has come a long way.
7. Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or the CASA experience?
I am honored to be in the lives of these children and to help advocate for them when their parents are unable. What I have learned and the ways I have grown since becoming a CASA is hard to put into words. It has changed me for the better in so many ways. I feel like it has helped me just as much, or more, than I have helped the children on my cases.