Day in the Life and Volunteer of the Month 

November Speak Up
Day in the Life: M.E. Cormier

I’m M.E. Cormier and I’ve been a CASA volunteer since January 2015. I’m a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful babies and a proud wife to my loving husband of 7 years. While my children are young, I’m taking the time to both be with them and to volunteer with several organizations that help make my city a better place. I heard about CASA as a child and am privileged to now have the ability to dedicate my time to advocating for children in need in the same town that I’ve lived all my life. 

My first case was two sisters, *Kesha, 5, and *Kimberly, 2. They have the same mother, different fathers, but were placed together for most of their time in care. Their mother is mentally ill and was unable and unwilling to complete her case plan in over two years; therefore her rights were terminated by the court. Kesha’s father, immediately upon hearing about his daughter in state’s custody, quickly achieved all of the goals of his case plan—including taking a 4 am bus ride from Houston weekly to visit his daughter—within six months. Kesha has been happily living with him in Texas ever since. Kimberly was reunited with her godmother, who recently adopted her as a single mother. 

Both girls suffered from developmental delays due to neglect. They both required speech and occupational therapy, sometimes daily. I attended IEP meetings, met with teachers and therapists, and helped gauge progress. After 2 short years, they’re both at the levels appropriate for their age and were released from both therapies. Throughout their time in care, the sisters attended different schools and were in 3 foster homes across 3 parishes. At times, the commute to visit could be challenging, but I was the only constant in their life so I made it my priority. For the 32 months, the girls were in state’s care, I was the only person in the entire case that was a part of their lives the entire time. I hope I had as much of an impact on their lives as they did on mine. Being a CASA volunteer can be time-consuming and certainly takes dedication, but it is a vital role that only we can fulfill. 

Balancing the schedule can be a challenge at first--whether you have to fit it into your work schedule, or arrange daytime childcare for your own kids. I have found that there aren’t a lot of surprises or emergencies as a CASA volunteer, so it’s very manageable and prearranged. Court dates are set months in advance, and you arrange the monthly visits based on your schedule, the child’s schedule, and with whomever, they are placed. The general idea is to have a positive, measurable presence in the kid’s life so as to be able to accurately assess and advocate for their future to the court system. 
Since joining this organization, I’ve gained insight and perspective that has forever changed my outlook. Being a CASA volunteer has immeasurably enriched my life and it’s my absolute privilege to continue serving CASA for the foreseeable future.

*Names changed for confidentially purposes. 

November Speak Up
Volunteers of the Month: Christy Anderson

Congratulations to Christy Anderson for being chosen as Volunteer of the Month. Christy completed training in July 2015 and accepted her first case that same month. Christy is the advocate for *Brendon. Brendon came into care due to allegations of medical neglect by his mother as she had missed three of his medical appointments. Additionally, Brendon was diagnosed with failure to thrive. DCFS had provided Ms. Jones with services; however, she had failed to make improvements with the care of Brendon.  

Christy immediately began to work on the case. She met with Brendon’s foster parents and made contact with his case worker. She also monitored his placement closely to make sure that all of his needs were being met. Additionally, she advocated for Brendon to be evaluated by Early Steps. Throughout the time that Christy has been Brendon’s advocate, she has formed solid relationships with his foster parents and case manager. It is evident that Christy has a strong bond with Brendon -- he lights up when he sees her! Christy is proud to see the progress that Brendon has made. He is thriving and in a stable environment. Christy will witness the culmination of everyone’s hard work on Brendon’s case when he is adopted on Friday, November 3, 2017.   

Thank you, Christy, for all your hard work and dedication on Brendon’s behalf. I know that the court hearings have been long, but you continued to push through! Your dedication to Brendon has not gone unnoticed. Additionally, your caring spirit and willingness to make a difference in Brendon’s life have been remarkable! I know that sometimes the road you traveled was rough and you’ve had some bumps along the way, but you continued to keep your focus on Brendon’s needs. Most importantly, you did not give up when things got tough and that is what being a CASA is all about!!   

Proud Advocate Supervisor, 
Ricketta Cotton-Monroe

*Names changed for confidentiality purposes. 

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