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Heather first began with SCAN as a Richmond CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Case Manager in 2015 and later took on the role of CASA Volunteer Coordinator. We are excited that she has now expanded her role to become the SCAN Volunteer Coordinator. She is now tackling recruitment, retention, communication, and coordination efforts for all of SCAN’s programs. We are so grateful for Heather’s dedication, passion, organization, and kindness. We are excited that Heather will bring her talents, experience, and expertise to this expanded role!
What has your life/work experience been that brought you to SCAN?
I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor degree in psychology. I previously worked at other nonprofit organizations, including the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and United Way of Roanoke Valley. I’ve always had a passion for working with nonprofits that improve the lives of children, so I was drawn to working with SCAN because it allowed me to see the direct impact that the organization has on children who have experienced trauma.
What inspires you to stay involved with your work at SCAN?
Every day I get to work with volunteers who are willing to donate their time to making a difference in the lives of children. I’m lucky to get to work with such an amazing group of people. Everyone I have worked with is extremely thoughtful, selfless and committed to our mission to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.
Is there anything you wish other people knew about SCAN?
I wish people knew how much we need CASA volunteers. Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who advocate for children who have been abused or neglected. A CASA volunteer is the voice of the child in the courtroom, and serves as a caring, consistent adult for a child who is going through a tough time. It’s an extremely rewarding volunteer opportunity, so please tell anyone you know who might be interested in getting involved. We especially have a need for male volunteers. Last year, 47% of the children we served were male, while only 16% of our volunteers were men.
What has been the best experience with SCAN so far?
I love getting to see a volunteer brighten a child’s day. The other day, I saw a child walk into the Child Advocacy Center for an appointment, clearly nervous and scared about what would happen in this new place, until he was greeted by a friendly volunteer. The volunteer sat with him in the playroom, playing with trains and doing art projects, so that he was comfortable in his surroundings and able to start his appointment feeling confident and at ease.
My most memorable moments have involved the relationships that CASA volunteers have formed with the children they are assigned to. For example, I recently spoke with a CASA who was assigned to a teenager who was living in a residential facility. The teenager did not have anyone who was visiting him regularly, so it really meant a lot to him that his CASA visited him twice a month. The CASA volunteer told us about going to the child’s band concert, and the teenager was practically jumping up and down he was so excited to have someone in the audience to support him for the first time.
Do you have any goals or hopes for the next year with SCAN?
This year, I am taking on a new role with the Board of Young Professional’s Blue and White Ball. I’m really looking forward to working with our amazing BYP members and helping to make this event the most fun year yet, while focusing on raising critical funds for SCAN’s 5 programs.
Are you involved with any other community organizations, hobbies, or activities?
I am a big traveler, and actually just got back from a trip to Austria. I also enjoy reading, yoga, exploring the fun city we live in, and spending as much time as possible at the lake or beach during the summer. I am a member of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network, the Greater Richmond Association for Volunteer Administration and the United Way Young Leader’s Society.
Click here to learn more about volunteering with SCAN.
Click here to learn more about what it takes to become a CASA Volunteer.