CASA volunteers bring an array of skills, traits and life experiences to their volunteer work and they differ for every volunteer. But the one contribution all CASAs share is their significant commitment to change a child’s life.
“I knew that being a CASA was something I wanted to continue to do when I got to Santa Barbara, it was just a matter of settling into law school,” recalled Savannah, 28, who left Florida for California in 2013. “After my fall semester, I knew I was ready to handle another time commitment.”
Savannah’s grandmother was a CASA in Oklahoma, and Savannah was inspired by her to do the same.
“My grandmother described it as such a fulfilling experience, I thought it was an amazing way to give to others,” said Savannah.
Savannah continues to advocate for her first assigned CASA child, 9-year-old Laura. It’s a relationship that began in January of 2014 and has grown strong through patience and understanding.
“She’s a very fun loving and outgoing child,” said Savannah. “There were certain environments she has been in, however, when she was very closed off.”
Savannah faced numerous hurdles when it came to trust and communication with her CASA child. There were instances when her patience was put to the test. It was during this time when Savannah dug deep within herself for understanding. Then she had an epiphany. CLICK HERE to read more.
“I had this almost surreal step-back moment and realized that this is the only way this child knows how to interact with people, so of course she’s going to try to push me away,” recalled Savannah.
Still, even with this realization, it was tough-going for a little while.
“My commitment was tested and it was about remembering the larger picture,” said Savannah. “I made this promise and it’s bigger than me and my current emotions. I think of it as a guiding principle: “My vision, commitments, and promises dictate my way of being and actions, not my judgments, assessments, circumstances or feelings.”
Those days are now behind them and Laura is a much happier and trusting child. After several years and numerous placements, Laura is now close to being adopted.
“She’s elated, I can barely get her on the phone, her foster mother suggested we write letters, so we have been pen-pals for a while now,” said Savannah. “She’s usually outside playing with her brothers and sisters. She’s absolutely thriving. I can hear her smile over the phone.”
One thing is for sure, each volunteer comes away from their enriching CASA journey with a new perspective. For Savannah, it was her ability to see the larger picture of her commitment.
“This isn’t about me. This commitment is about me having an impact on another person’s life while contributing to my community.”