CANADIAN COUNTY CASA VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

Rachel Massey - "I would encourage everyone to mentor or volunteer with kids. The results are amazing and life long for the kids."

When did you say “Yes” to becoming a CASA? 2014

Why are you a part of CASA’s volunteer team? I want to make a difference in kids’ lives.

Do you have a favorite memory from volunteering? Being able to put 3 sisters together to visit for the first time after not seeing one another for over a year.

What age of children do you work with and why did you choose that age? Mainly teenagers, they need the most support.

What is one thing that would surprise someone to learn about you? I’m a Native Basket Weaver.

What is your occupation? How does volunteering fit into your work schedule? I’m an organizer. Most of my contact with the kids is nights and weekends. My job is flexible for court, etc.

What are your hobbies/interests? I ride a motorcycle.

Do you have children or grandchildren? Pets? 2 sons, 30 & 23 and Beatrice-dog, Cochise –cat

Why would you invite others to volunteer within our program? It’s rewarding to help the kids, no matter how small.

Do you have an interesting or encouraging CASA experience to share? All of my cases have ended with the best possible outcomes for the kids.

Favorite quote: Love always gives.

Anything else you want to share? I would encourage everyone to mentor or volunteer with kids. The results are amazing and life long for the kids.

Jeff Coan - "None of these children did anything to be in their situations, and many of them feel helpless or defeated believing no one cares about them. Just being involved in their lives and being the adult that does show up for them is more than most people do for them. Being a CASA is easily one of the most important things I’ve ever done."

When did you say “Yes” to becoming a CASA? September 2015

Why are you a part of CASA’s volunteer team? I felt a holy calling to help children. I believe CASA is the best opportunity to invest in our children and contribute to future generations of adults, parents and leaders.

Do you have a favorite memory from volunteering? Yes, for Christmas one year, I went to a comic bookstore and bought some comics. I cut them up and made a collage out of them. I placed a picture of my CASA child and another superhero from a ComicCon we attended in the middle of the collage. Finally, I placed it in a nice frame.  When he opened the gift, he immediately went to his bedroom and hung it up. He’s been moved several times since then, but recently I visited him, and it was hanging over his bed.

What age of children do you work with and why did you choose that age? They were 11 and 12 years old when I was assigned to them. They both recently turned 14 and 15 years old. I have always related well to kids about ages 8-14. I felt like 11-12 were impressionable years for children, and I hoped to get them thinking about things like school, careers and avoiding the temptations of drugs and making good decisions.

How does volunteering fit into your work schedule? I am in accounting at an energy company. For a while it was overwhelming due to required overtime at work, and the boys being placed in foster homes in remote towns throughout our state made visitations challenging. One placement took 3 hours to get to one way, but I enjoyed the reflection time traveling, and I’ve seen so many unique and beautiful places I never would have experienced otherwise. It is important to communicate with foster families, DHS and work to attend court or plan visits in advance, but my employer is very supportive.

Why would you invite others to volunteer within our program? There is a great need for adults to mentor and lead children in our communities. None of these children did anything to be in their situations, and many of them feel helpless or defeated believing no one cares about them. Just being involved in their lives and being the adult that does show up for them is more than most people do for them. Being a CASA is easily one of the most important things I’ve ever done.

Do you have an interesting or encouraging CASA experience to share? I know I’m making a difference because the boys are always waiting for me at the door when I pull up for visits. Also, I recently volunteered to donate blood and the lady asked me during the process if I had plans for the weekend. I told her I was a CASA and was making a sibling visit possible that weekend. She asked, “What’s CASA?” Toward the end of the conversation she asked how she could be a CASA? I encouraged her and told her we had great need for wonderful people exactly like her.

Anything else you want to share? Witnessing the challenges of our foster care programs and the children in them can be heart breaking but pretending these kids do not exist or doing nothing is worse. When examining the years these children will live, when considering the people that showed up in their lives as children and the difference we can make, that’s why we live, to give them a chance. We get to show them another alternative than they currently know. CASA is a great organization and I’m very proud to be called a CASA.

 

 

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