CASA advocates do not stem from one demographic, but are civic minded individuals who have come together for the unique purpose of working on behalf of New York’s foster children. Currently, CASA has over 100 active volunteer advocates each year.
Kristian joined CASA in December 2007, and has worked on eight different cases since she began. Kristian became an advocate because she was looking to work with an organization that helped neglected and abused children. As a child, Kristian experienced neglect, mental, and emotional abuse in her own home until a judge from the family court assigned a CASA advocate to work with her family. Kristian was not aware of CASA’s impact on her life until she began volunteering for us. She also discovered that a good friend from childhood’s uncle is David Soukup, the judge who established CASA in 1977. When she began looking for an organization to volunteer with, that same friend recommended CASA to her.
Volunteering for CASA has been a full circle experience for Kristian. It has allowed her to help others work through similar experiences she has had. In addition, as an advocate, Kristian values above all else the chance to serve as the voice for a child or youth in court. The decisions made in court will impact the rest of a child’s life, and creating positive outcomes for a child or youth is such a rewarding experience.
Allyne has been a CASA advocate since 1982. She had originally planned to take a certificate program in Social Work at the New School when a friend adopted two children and another became a foster parent. These experiences raised Allyne’s interest in the complexities of foster care and adoption leading her to volunteer with CASA.
Allyne considers her contact with CASA’s community of volunteers and staff the most positive aspect of her engagement. She especially likes gathering around and learning from one another.
Her time with CASA has taught her that everyone has a unique story, and she feels that CASA has increased her own sense of empathy.
Allyne’s most memorable experience was the successful adoption of a child, in which he and his foster family were able to move to Puerto Rico after a four year legal process. The adoptive family was very excited to be able to provide him with a different kind of life than he would have had in New York.
URSULA – Volunteer since 1998
“As a CASA advocate you see a different perspective from the media. You witness the stress and strain that poverty places on families and the daily struggle and pressure of poverty.” Her experiences with CASA have taught her that you cannot generalize about people.