Meet Volunteer Advocate Barb Kowal

Feb 27 2015

By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine

Barb Kowal grew up in Massachusetts, graduated from Smith College as a two-sport (basketball and softball) athlete, and spent all her time in New England before moving here in 1997 to work for the University of Texas, "taking my Boston accent with me forever" she says.

She worked for many years as the Assistant Athletics Director of Media Relations at UT, working 7 days a week to oversee all the public relations and communications efforts for women’s athletics. She now serves as the Director of External Affairs for CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America).

Barb says that “volunteerism is like a family tenet. My family was invested in the community – volunteering for local elections, Dad was a Veteran’s Agent, my brothers, sister and Mom were volunteer EMTs.”

When she switched from UT to the slightly less time-consuming new job in 2008, Barb was ready to take on an engaging and challenging volunteer opportunity.  “I had heard about CASA and I was intrigued by the process of learning another whole system to assist children. It was something totally different than I’d ever done.”

Barb greatly appreciated the extensive volunteer training process. “The training shouldn’t be intimidating… it should show people how important our volunteer efforts are. We are listened to by the court, by judges, by CPS, by attorneys… we’re very empowered as volunteers. Our voice is heard and we have a lot of credibility for the children we represent and speak for.”