Jan 05 2018
by Sara Blake
Brendan Goodrich knew that his grandmother was a CASA volunteer, but it wasn’t until he volunteered with CASA himself that he truly understood the depth of her role in children’s lives. Brendan remembers attending her funeral as a child more than ten years ago. “People had sent in letters about how she’d been a great support to them,” says Brendan. “It was something I always had in the back of my mind, this cool thing my grandmother had done.”
Several interesting experiences have led Brendan to where he is today. At the age of 16, while working at 7-Eleven, he learned and developed a love for the Spanish language. Brendan has worked as a bus and truck driver, had a short stint as a grave digger, and is currently having fun as the secret shopper for a popular local chain (but it’s a secret!). Perhaps one of Brendan’s most fascinating abilities is his knowledge of the Mayan language, a skill that he learned when serving as a research assistant for conservation economists in a small village in the Yucatan.
After graduating from Cornell University with a psychology and Spanish degree, Brendan moved to Austin to study for his masters in Transportation Planning at UT. When a friend of Brendan’s shared his own experience as a CASA volunteer here in Austin, Brendan immediately recognized the organization that his grandmother had devoted herself to. In August 2017, Brendan decided it was time to follow in her footsteps.
According to Brendan, one of the most surprising dynamics in this role has been the intricate and, at times, confusing relationships between the parties involved in a case. “I was really surprised by the complex network of communications between everyone,” says Brendan. “It was very challenging to put myself in that network. What people were or weren’t talking about took some time to figure out. I’d say volunteers need to be ready to be jack of all trades. There were a lot of things I had no clue about, but it’s important to have an open mind, a willingness to learn and a readiness to empathize.”
Brendan feels that CASA “gives a genuine face” to the things that teens in foster care are dealing with. “You have all these things going on with court, and it’s very complicated for everyone,” says Brendan. “I’m here to help my family and teen understand what’s going on. If I don’t understand something I go back to the family or to other parties in the case. My teen teaches me things too; it’s a conversation. Making sure we all understand is important!”
October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014