"I had really great examples of what it means to be a decent human," says Jenni Jablonski, a cyclist, mother of 8 rabbits ("We're the crazy bunny family," she laughs) and CASA volunteer. Her grandparents adopted her aunt and uncle from foster care, so Jenni grew up surrounded by family stories of the joys and struggles of raising children from hard places. She learned from her family the quality she finds most important on her two CASA cases, perseverance when things get hard. "It's about not giving up," she explains. "They've had enough bad things in their life. They don't need another person giving up on them, too."
For Jenni, it's not simply about being persistent, but about teaching persistence. Seven years as an elementary music teacher and a masters program in Education Administration taught her to focus on process and on giving kids the tools and perspective they need to find their own solutions. She exposes the kids on her CASA cases, and the one she mentors with her husband, to new ideas and helps them consider all sides of an issue before jumping to conclusions. It's a lesson she learned from her work and her family: "There may be struggles but there is always a way to work for a solution. It might not be as fast or easy as you want, but you can always keep looking."
Volunteer Profiles 2016 July