May 19 2015
By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine
Erin Martin is the Executive Director at MEDICO, a nonprofit that provides healthcare and educational services in developing communities in Central America.
Erin attended grad school in New Zealand, where her and her husband Paul had their daughter. Unfortunately their home was severely damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
They moved back to the U.S. and in with her parents in Bastrop to recover from that loss only to go through the September 2011 fires two weeks later. “We learned the life lesson of ‘stuff is not important’ repeatedly,” said Erin. She was really excited when they finally got back to Austin and got resettled.
With 2 years of volunteering with CASA and having worked with 5 children, Erin has learned a lot about the child welfare system. “I guess I had a stereotyped image in my mind of burnt out caseworkers. I realized that everybody at the department really cares about kids. Caseworkers feel as much for kids as anyone else does but they’re truly overstretched. Mostly it’s brought to light how taxed the system is and how CASA has risen up as this additional agency to fill that gap.”
Working with CASA, Erin says, “I feel like my volunteerism is inextricably linked with the mission of CASA and the outcome of where these kids end up. It’s really mission critical.”
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