New advocates share their motivations to volunteer

Sep 11 2013

By Callie Langford

“I know you’re very busy - you’re professionals - you have a lot to do and you’re here tonight because you have a heart for kids and a heart for our community,” shared Judge Darlene Byrne on Tuesday night at our Swearing-In Ceremony.

The 39 volunteers being sworn-in proved her right, sharing about their busy lives and careers throughout the evening. We had a number of engineers, computer programmers, social workers, lawyers and nonprofit employees officially become CASA volunteers. We also had many people with large families, including John and Hollie Garza who were sworn-in together as a couple. They brought their young son to the ceremony and have another child on the way.

Judge Byrne wanted to know a little more about each of our volunteers and their decisions to join CASA: “I know you have a lot of different choices of volunteer opportunities. Austin is an amazing town. There’s a gazillion wonderful organizations in this city. So tonight I’ll be asking why did you choose CASA to invest your heart and soul in?”

Here’s what some of them had to say:

Melvyn Anderson, a software developer, decided CASA would be his community involvement outside of his church involvement.

Andrea Boldt shared how she had heard many of the sad stories and “wanted to be a part of the solution.”

Michael Cavazos had been a mentor for 7 years and really enjoyed it. He decided to take his work helping kids to the next level by volunteering with CASA.

Mandeep Chatha had been a volunteer at Austin Children’s Shelter and was inspired by that to take on a more individual role working with children in need.

Madelyn Howard had heard a lot of alarming statistics and horrible stories about children who end up in foster care and she decided to take action. She also works with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and is leading their team on sponsoring CASA’s annual Holiday Toy Drive this year!

Gaylan Pinkerton decided that raising her own 5 children wasn’t enough and she wanted to do more.  She shared how she just thinks “it’s wrong that there are children in our community who don’t feel loved and valued,” and joined CASA to help solve that problem.

Judge Byrne validated that they were indeed there to help solve these problems for children in need. “You are about to enter into the emergency room of the courthouse. This is a moment of crises in these family’s lives and you’re going to be there right at that moment to help start the healing and start picking up the pieces.”

See all the photos from this Swearing-In Ceremony on Flickr.