Meet Tish! She completed CASA training in January 2022 and has already worked on three cases.
This article was written by guest contributor, CASA volunteer Krishna Dandamudi and edited by CASA of Kent County staff. Thank you, Krishna!
Why did you decide to become a CASA volunteer?
When I learned about CASA’s mission, I knew I wanted to get involved. I have always had a soft spot for children and felt called to advocate for those who may feel they lack a voice or are trying to make their way through systems that are stacked against them. This need felt especially urgent during the pandemic, when so many families were struggling.
What is something that you learned during CASA training?
I have learned a great deal about the Kent County child welfare system and the resources we have at our disposal to help children. The hypotheticals we worked through in training were eye-opening exercises for me. I also liked having my own biases checked and upended! I learned how to be more open-minded about how other families raise children, deal with stress, and manage their circumstances.
What is something that you’ve learned or realized while being a CASA?
The work CASAs do is far more challenging and more rewarding than I could have imagined. Spending time with my children has been fun, but CASAs also mean business! The advocacy piece behind the scenes is what really drives me. I am constantly learning to navigate the child welfare system, different family dynamics, and better ways to support my CASA children.
What is your favorite part about being a CASA?
There is no greater joy than seeing your advocacy make a difference. In my case, this meant seeing my CASA children removed from a living situation that was causing them undue stress and trauma. I still have a long way to go to ensure that they get all the services they need, but every time we are able to make a change in a positive direction, I feel energized and excited to do more for them. They are incredible kids who deserve the world!
What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a CASA?
Once you see your CASA kids’ faces light up when they see you, understand the tangible impact you have as a CASA, and experience the feeling of making a difference – there is no going back! I am so thankful that I made the fateful decision last year to put in an application to volunteer, and humbled to have my children’s trust, and the opportunity to advocate for them.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I cannot overstate the amount of good CASA does for our community. The staff go above and beyond to support the volunteers. I would also be lost without the guidance of my supervisor, Amy Smith, who has helped me navigate some of the more challenging aspects of volunteering. She is a model of patience, fortitude, and compassion—thanks for all you do, Amy!
This article is part of the Winter 2022 edition of CASA Connect, CASA of Kent County’s quarterly newsletter. Click here to view a pdf version of this newsletter.
After many years of service, two of our beloved advocate supervisors, Deb Kammer and Rosemary Allen, will retire from their positions later this year. Please join us in thanking them for their dedication to CASA of Kent County and wishing them well in their next steps!
Leslie wanted to help kids in the foster care system, but fostering wasn’t right for her and her husband. When she discovered she could work with children as an advocate, she “knew this was the next best thing.” She completed CASA training in 2011 and took on three consecutive family court cases.
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