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Cassie is drawn to public interest work, juvenile delinquency and child abuse and neglect. A professor recommended she join CASA to learn and to make a difference. She became a CASA volunteer this April after going through the 35 hours of intensive training and court observation.
“The training was very holistic,” Cassie said. “It was above and beyond what was in the CASA training manuals. The CASA staff made sure we were fully prepared for anything we came in contact with.”
The training has helped Cassie to stay positive when working with sometimes challenging and difficult cases.
“The CASA staff forced us to change our perception and judgment,” she said. “They taught us that we have to look at families based on their strengths and not through the lens of our own experiences.”
She has already made a great difference in the life of one child. Cassie has been working with a girl who has had several different housing placements since May. Some of the child’s family members are incarcerated and other family members aren’t consistent in her life in other ways.
“I try to spend a lot of time talking with her,” Cassie said. “I make sure I understand her needs and perspective.”
Cassie also works with the social workers, educational advocates, grandparents, mentors, therapists, guardian ad litems, attorneys and residential treatment program administrators. Cassie’s goal as a CASA volunteer is to recommend the most ideal permanent home situation for the child. Cassie knows her impact is much greater, though.
“She had a hearing once and I was the only person other than her social worker who came,” Cassie said. “I didn’t do much, but when I came, she turned around, smiled and waved at me. She looked happy that I was there.”
SCAN is fortunate to have Cassie as one of its Richmond CASA volunteers working to keep children safe.