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August has been involved with Richmond CASA for the past 5 years. They first began as a CASA volunteer and became a full-time staff member just over one year ago. The CASA Program Coordinator shared that “August’s positive traits are overwhelming. They are reliable, open-minded, and constantly searching for new things to learn. They are a sponge for knowledge, soaking up every morsel. One of my favorite things about August is that they actively put themselves into situations that will challenge them and take them out of their comfort zone. They also made it a point to be at every new CASA volunteer class’ Swearing In Ceremony when they were a volunteer. They are always willing to help where is needed, and offer support to coworkers.”
How did you first get involved with SCAN?
I began volunteering with CASA in the fall of 2015, just after I moved to Richmond. I wanted to meet people and get involved in the community in a meaningful way. Then the case manager position opened up just as I finished graduate school!
What has your life/work experience been that brought you to SCAN?
I’ve been working with children and youth for a long time, both in one-on-one situations like babysitting and in communal settings like church nurseries, vacation Bible schools, homeschool cooperatives, and pre-college summer programs. My graduate school research centered on children in American history, what they meant to the adults around them and how they were treated by them. I also thought for a long time that I wanted to be a lawyer, studying criminal justice and forensic psychology in high school and college and interning for a judge one summer. I was drawn to CASA because it brought together my experience with and love of children and my interest in the legal system.
What inspires you to stay involved with your work at SCAN?
People, people, and people. I thoroughly enjoy my colleagues and it is just fun coming to work every day (well, it was). The volunteers I supervise are likewise delightful, and it is really cool to get to interact with people with such varied backgrounds and interests. And finally, of course, the children and families: While I don’t get to work with them as directly as I used to, I see their lives unfold through my volunteers’ reports and get to share, to some small degree, in their setbacks and in their triumphs.
Is there anything you wish other people knew about SCAN?
I hope people realize how well-respected SCAN is. I was once in a hearing where a parent’s attorney suggested a different parenting class that would finish more quickly; the judge said, “I know the quality of SCAN’s work and why it takes 20 weeks; I don’t know what this other provider does in that shorter time frame.”
What has been the best experience with SCAN so far?
It is hard to forget one of my earlier experiences as a volunteer, when the twins I was assigned had their first birthday and I was invited to the party. Not only was it gratifying to be included in such an important life event, but it gave me an opportunity to see their large, loving, supportive family in action and having fun. I’ve also really enjoyed attending the Blue & White Ball and Adoption Day!
What are any challenges you have faced in your work with SCAN?
It’s been a little strange going from a volunteer role to a 9-5 position. The duties are different, of course, and I have had to be careful to draw boundaries around “work time” and “off time.” But the biggest challenge has been not having that meaningful volunteer work anymore.
Do you have any goals or hopes for the next year with SCAN?
I hope to see CASA clear our waitlist again, as we were briefly able to last fall!
Are you involved with any other community organizations, hobbies, or activities?
I serve as senior warden of the vestry at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and am on the board of the St. John’s Church Foundation. I have also performed improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy, as well as taught improv classes and helped produce an LGBTQ+ sketch show, at Coalition Theater, a small comedy collaborative in Jackson Ward.
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I love roller coasters!