CASA volunteer Sara felt something was missing when she graduated from college and started her career in the IT business. She worked part-time as a teacher in a low-income school near her campus during college. She couldn't forget how important it is to care for children and nurture their development.
"Many of the elementary-school-aged kids I served working in that school had such a limited outlook on their potential — that there was nothing to look forward to or very little they could aspire to," says Sara remembering her years as a teacher. Let that sink in for a minute. 5-10-year-old kids felt like they had no options left.
For Sara, that's something she couldn't forget.
Advocating to make a difference
When she accepted a job offer in Austin, Sara looked into another local child-serving organization to see how she could help children in her new community. Quickly she learned that the organization only had opportunities to help with event-based volunteering in support of fundraising for child advocacy, rather than working directly with kids. While she does often participate in these events and finds it fulfilling, she wanted something more long-term, so they pointed her toward CASA.
After completing training, she was ready to advocate for children. Her first assignment came quickly. A teen needed CASA support after their parents were identified as unsuitable caregivers. Sara quickly learned that this teen was charismatic, resilient, and incredibly resourceful, but struggling to navigate the burdens of independent living, something no child should face alone.
When Sara joined the case, she encountered a teenager living an adult life, working and doing their best to survive, mostly alone, with little guidance, and disengaged from important things at this stage, like education.
She advocated almost daily for them to get back into a GED program, collaborating with the other legal parties and sending all the needed information for enrollment. Additionally, Sara conducted regular check-ins with this youth about their academic progress, ensuring that they were engaged in their education and had the support they needed.
Drastic situations, stronger reactions
Sara was immensely surprised when the youth she served called her for help when they had a housing crisis. Sara advocated for them to be placed elsewhere, securing through CASA all the basic needs during those tough and traumatic times, and demonstrating once again CASA’s bold spirit in the most challenging circumstances.
Like many other CASA volunteers, Sara has demonstrated resourcefulness, offering alternatives, and helping the youth learn how to advocate for themselves. As she did in her career as a teacher serving younger children, Sara found herself committed to something that empowered her to thrive in her own life.
Sara shared that CASA is one of the most fulfilling parts of her life.
“I look forward to hearing from them every day, from needing support to hearing that something went well. I admire everyone who is involved in this organization, going the extra mile for children who need it the most. I truly believe that being a support for a kid who's going through a lot is one of the most important and fulfilling things we can do, and I am grateful to CASA for giving me a supportive avenue by which to do that,” Sara shares with CASA’s community.
You can help support a child and make a difference in their life by becoming a CASA volunteer today at www.casatravis.org/volunteer