Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Johnson

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Spotlight

Speaking with volunteer Julie Johnson, it’s clear that being a CASA volunteer is a natural fit for her skills, experience, and personality. Julie grew up the daughter of licensed foster care providers. She had dozens of foster siblings and saw firsthand the impact of child abuse and neglect. More recently, Julie helped her adult son, an applied behavioral analysis therapist, on his sensory farm, teaching goat yoga to folks with intellectual disabilities. Julie even has a family connection to the original founder of the CASA/Guardians ad Litem program, the Honorable David Soukup. When she attended Michigan CASA’s 2023 fundraising gala, Julie knew she had to get involved and signed up for the September training class.

During training, Julie learned important skills and knowledge to set her up for success as an advocate. She also learned about the partnership between CASA staff and volunteers, and that she could rely on the support of her advocate supervisor, Amanda. After being sworn in as a volunteer, Julie came to the CASA office to choose her first case. She selected one that had been waiting for an advocate for over a year: a child with severe intellectual disabilities.* As she began her CASA journey, Julie learned the importance of her role and how important her notes and documentation were to the judge.

Julie shared that her favorite part of her role as a volunteer is spending time with her CASA child. She noted that many of the adults working on the case don’t have the time to work with him one-on-one the way that she can. She sees her CASA child’s face light up every time she arrives for a visit. Julie said, “To see him smile is the biggest reward.” When asked what she would say to someone considering becoming a CASA, Julie immediately replied, “Do it. It’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make.”

 

*Did you know CASA volunteers choose their own cases?

CASA advocate supervisors help match volunteers to a case that fits their interests, lived experiences, and capacity. Some cases take longer to be matched due to increased time commitment, travel requirements, or complexity of needs.

 

This story is featured in the Summer 2024 edition of CASA Connect, CASA of Kent County’s quarterly newsletter. Click here to view a pdf version of this newsletter.

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