Friday, April 11, 2014

National Volunteer Week 2014, Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Marcia!

“Some days we volunteers are tired and overwhelmed with our own lives. However, the first time your youth searches for you in a crowd and he lights up when he sees you, you are hooked.”
Marcia is a retired Special Education teacher and has been volunteering as a child advocate for 2 years.
What are some of your favorite parts about volunteering? My favorite part about volunteering is the relationship I have developed with my youth. After two years I have become a consistent presence in this young person’s life. During our time together this young man has been placed in different foster care settings as well as spending time with his biological family.  He views me as a stable friend, inviting me to performances, games and birthday parties.  I am honored to be part of his busy life.
What it is like working with your CASA youth? My CASA youth and I have fun together.  We spend a good deal of time laughing.  He shares his accomplishments with me, and he makes me very proud of the person he has become.
What are some activities you have done with your CASA youth? We try to make our time together an adventure. We have been Geo-caching and beach walking.  Occasionally we will find ourselves sitting on the edge of our chairs at an action movie. Our favorite activity is searching for the perfect burrito and we have found some amazing Mexican restaurants in this county.
Why is connecting with your CASA youth important? I enjoy spending time with my youth and I think he sees me as a safe person to talk to about issues in his life.  He will ask for advice in solving problems and I enjoy being able to support him.
What have you learned during your time at CASA? I have learned to slow down and listen.  I have learned to ask my youth “how do you feel about that?” I have also learned that spending time together is a gift and I am very grateful to CASA for assigning me this awesome young man.
Why do you volunteer for CASA? The reason I volunteer for CASA is complicated. Initially I volunteered because I had lost my oldest daughter and I wanted to honor her memory by helping others. She had been such a kind, giving person and she would have loved being a CASA volunteer. However, as the years have progressed, I now know that I volunteer for myself as well as for my daughter.  It is truly a gift to spend time with a young person and feel that you have made a difference in his or her life.
What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering for CASA but hasn’t taken the plunge? I would tell that person that it isn’t always easy being a CASA volunteer and initially it feels a bit like a job. You don’t always want to take a walk, or play a game.  Some days we volunteers are tired and overwhelmed with our own lives.  However, the first time your youth searches for you in a crowd and he lights up when he sees you, you are hooked. Volunteers have the potential to make an enormous difference in a child’s life.  After spending time with your young person you will just feel pretty darn good about yourself.

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