Ophelia Jatta

When did you say “yes” to becoming a CASA? April 1, 2020.

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

Do you have a favorite memory from volunteering? Yes, one of my CASA teenagers is being adopted by her foster parents. This was wonderful news and a time to celebrate!

What age of children do you work with and why did you choose that age? I was open to working with all ages. My CASA case involves three girls, sisters, ages 4, 6 and 14.

What is one thing that would surprise someone to learn about you? I lived in South Africa for more than 16 years and I served on President Nelson Mandela’s Advisory Committee on Reconstruction and Development. I interacted with Nelson Mandela’s Foundation for Children. While in South Africa for a concert tour, Bon Jovi came in person to visit children who had physical handicaps who were attending a Summer Sports Retreat. They were playing basketball in wheelchairs and Bon Jovi joined right in and played with them. It was a memorable occasion and so inspiring and uplifting for the children.

What is your occupation? How does volunteering fit into your work schedule? I am retired. I was trained in international law, business, economics, and diplomacy at Harvard University (The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, jointly administered by Harvard and Tufts Universities).  I worked as an International Consultant to global companies operating in Africa and dealing primarily with African governments receiving funding from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

What are your hobbies/interests/fav sports team? Exercise and body building so I can stay fit and physically active. Favorite sports team is the Oklahoma Thunder. Interests and hobbies: I enjoy home decorating and interior design, clothes and putting together a beautiful matching outfit with accessories such as shoes/jewelry etc.

If you are married, how long have you been married? Do you have children? Pets? Not married. One son who is a School Teacher and coach and specializes in helping children with emotional and physical challenges.

Are you involved in any other volunteer roles you want to share with us? I am a founding board member of the Single Parents Support Network, helping children and their families who have only one parent or grandparent as Head of Household.

Why would you invite others to volunteer within our program? It is a rewarding experience. It gives you an opportunity to give back to the Community and impact the lives of children.

Do you have an interesting or encouraging CASA experience to share? I just received the news that one of my CASA teenagers is being adopted by her foster parents. This is wonderful news. This teenager is doing very well in school, already has her career goals in place and she now will have a permanent safe and secure home base from where she can further her dreams.

Do you have a favorite quote you want to share? – Quotes from Nelson Mandela

  • “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
  • “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
  • “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
  • “The greatest glory in living lies not I never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Anything else you want to share? I just started studying for the Doctorate Degree in Education, Administration and Leadership (DEAL Program) at Southern Nazarene University. I will be writing my doctoral thesis on Adverse Childhood Experiences. This doctoral education will enhance my CASA knowledge. I will give me an opportunity to contribute to research on how families can create a better future for themselves and their children.










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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.