Why are you a part of CASA’s volunteer team? Because all too often court is about the parents and resources to help them and the children’s needs are sometimes not realized or met. As a CASA volunteer, we are able to spend time with the children and sometimes learn things that DHS or the Courts are unaware of. As a volunteer, we’re able to be there for the children and let their voice be heard and help them with resources that they need.
Do you have a favorite memory from volunteering? I have favorite memories with all the CASA kids I’ve had. My 1st case will always be the most memorable. She was only 3 years old when I got the case and her mother was in renal kidney failure and waiting for a kidney transplant. I would always get a call letting me know the mother was being rushed to the hospital and I would go pick up my CASA child and take her to the hospital to see her mother, never knowing if it was going to be the last time. This went on for 2 years. I can remember every ride to the hospital, the little girl taking my hand while I was driving and asking me “is my mommy going to turn into an angel now?” I always felt that this little girl was a lot stronger than most adults. I can still feel her little hand in mine and hear her soft voice.
How does volunteering fit into your work schedule? I am a Bail Bondsman and do my own Fugitive Recovery. My hours are 24/7. Being a volunteer, I am able to set the visits with my CASA kids around my time. If I have to work, I know that the CASA staff will stand in for me on my CASA case.
If you are married, how long have you been married?Do you have children or grandchildren? Pets? I am married to Aaron McRee and our wedding date was 12/12/2012 because I am awful at remembering personal dates. Lol He is an amazing man whom understands my work hours and time spent with my CASA kids. We have 5 children together and blessed with 6 unique, out-going grandchildren.
Why would you invite others to volunteer within our program? When I’m asked why do I volunteer as a CASA, my first words are always…for the child’s voice to be heard. Then I ask the person, “what if YOU were just a child and was being molested, raped, beaten, burned, watched your parents do drugs, kept in a dog cage, etc.” Your totally pulled from the only environment you’ve known and now your no longer with your parents that you love unconditionally. Wouldn’t you want someone you can trust and talk to. Someone whose going to help you understand it’s not your fault, someone whom can explain what’s going on with the process in court and more importantly….someone who will take you to the park, on walks, to a movie, lunch, etc….just so you as a child can have fun and time that your not thinking of all the harm you’ve endured. Doesn’t every child deserve to be heard!? YOU could be that one person to help change a child’s life.
Do you have an interesting or encouraging CASA experience to share? The best CASA experience I’ve had is seeing the children reunited with their mother, because the mother went above and beyond in getting her children back. Seeing the smile on the children’s face and knowing they are safe. Knowing that the cycle of violence and drugs has finally been broken and the children have a new start on life.
Do you have a favorite quote you want to share? “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
Anything else you want to share? I hear so many times from people that “I don’t know the legal system or how it works, what if the child doesn’t like me, I really don’t have the money to spend on a CASA child or I don’t know anything about resources to help a child. First of all, you go through CASA training. They literally cover everything and you always have the CASA staff to help you with any questions or guidance on your case. Our Canadian County DHS, Children’s Attorney and Judge Bob Hughey are great to work with. You’re not on your own….you’re on a team. 2ndly, CASA children have already been through a lot. You simply start out slow and build the trust. 3rdly, it doesn’t cost anything to go for a walk around the block, take them to the park or even sit on a curb and chat. It’s not about the money, it’s about a child having someone to listen to them, empathize, give them guidance, hope and help with their needs.
Canadian County CASA complies with applicable Federal Civil Rights Laws and does not discriminate based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, military service or lack of military service, religious affiliations or belief, or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.