by Sara Blake
Family has always meant a great deal to CASA volunteer Krissy Osborne, especially after moving to Austin as a young adult. Krissy and her two older sisters, who were often mistaken for triplets as children, find reasons to spend time together in their hometown of Houston every chance they can. “As the family continues to grow through marriages and births, we always have something to celebrate and it’s easy to find the time to spend together,” says Krissy.
A health and wellness expert, Krissy has worked as a fitness trainer, competed in bodybuilding shows, and joined a health startup as a wellness consultant. Three years ago, Krissy took a chance with a new opportunity at Samsung, and hasn’t looked back since. As a recruiter, Krissy now travels around the country to visit college campuses and focuses on relationship building with staff and students.
Long before volunteering with CASA, Krissy observed the child welfare system through a slightly different lens as a UT graduate working for Child Protective Services. At CPS, she interacted with CASA on a limited level but believed a common misconception about CASA volunteers: “I actually thought you had to be an attorney to work for CASA!” Krissy shared. “I didn’t know until years later when I had gotten out of social work.” Later, after volunteering with other youth focused organizations, Krissy began hearing CASA’s name mentioned and realized CASA volunteers do not have to be attorneys at all!
As a new CASA volunteer, one of the biggest surprises to Krissy was that she only had to handle one case at a time; a very different experience from more than 20 cases at once as a caseworker. With more time to spend on each case, Krissy could focus on all the dynamics of the case and connect with each party involved. Krissy also learned where to draw boundaries when she needed to. “My supervisor was very helpful in guiding me in my role as a CASA volunteer and reminded me that I wasn’t expected to solve every problem,” Krissy said.
When asked how she manages to balance her career, travels, and her volunteer work, Krissy responded that it was about staying connected and making good use of the time she has. “I almost always travel with my laptop. If something comes up and I need to contact my child or other parties on the case, or make updates on Optima, I can stay on top of things during my down times at airport, or at home in the evenings and early mornings,” Krissy explained. “I also try to take advantage of weekends or other down time when I can be proactive and make those contacts and placement visits so there are minimal interruptions to my work.”
After working her first case with a teenager, Krissy began to take notice of the profound effect words have on people. Krissy has seen the direction of the teen’s life change because of unkind words said to her by her mother and others throughout her life. “It definitely makes me more conscious about how I use my words and how I treat people,” Krissy admits. “Tearing down happens a lot faster than building up. If I ever have kids, I feel like I’ve gotten smarter about knowing how my words would affect them.”
March Volunteer Profiles 2018