Thursday, Sep 13, 2018
Laura joined the CASA staff in July of this year and has hit the ground running. We asked her a few questions about becoming an Advocate Manager.
How did you originally learn about CASA?
I read an interview with a CASA volunteer in the Deerfield Review about eight years ago. It struck a chord with me, and I kept CASA in the back of my mind until five years ago when my children were both in college. I chose to wait until that time to pursue my work as a CASA so that I could devote the time and energy needed to really make a difference in a child’s life.
Why did you originally want to be a CASA?
I became a CASA because I wanted to give back and I have always enjoyed working with children. I wanted to do something that would have a direct impact on children’s lives. Of all of the volunteering opportunities that I have participated in, CASA has definitely proven to be the most meaningful.
What skills from your background have you pulled from to inform your CASA work?
To inform my work I draw on a professional background as an educator of general education and special education populations as well as my personal experiences as a parent of children of my own. My education background enabled me to serve as a liaison between foster parents and schools to address the needs of CASA children, helping foster parents navigate the sometimes difficult path to get appropriate services for their foster children. As a parent I have used skills such as patience, empathy, and understanding to build lasting relationships with my CASA children and their families. As an advocate manager, I have pulled from both backgrounds to discuss and clarify issues for CASA advocates in an understandable manner while, at the same time, listening to and addressing concerns regarding their cases.
What do you like about working with CASA’s volunteers?
I am passionate about working with CASA volunteers because I am constantly learning from the volunteers. Each volunteer has a unique background and they each bring different strengths and insights to their case, but all of them share my passion for helping the kids that we serve.
What do you think makes a good Advocate Manager?
It's important to be a good communicator, a good listener, calm, patient, tactful and a good problem solver. Each child's case requires a great deal of collaboration, and communication is the key to enabling a CASA volunteer and an Advocate Manager to work as a team for the best interest of our CASA children.
Thanks to Laura and her CASA Advocates, dozens of children will a powerful advocate to make their voices heard and their needs recognized. Thank you Laura!