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Shelby Nunnery

Hi friends!


So happy you are here and really excited to show you what a day in the life of a CASA Volunteer looks like. My name is Shelby St. Germain Nunnery, I am 24, a resident of Prairieville, LA, and a CASA volunteer. I am a loan officer with GMFS mortgage and a wedding filmmaker and photographer. I enjoy traveling, spending time with my husband and three dogs, and hosting family and friends. I am the oldest of three and enjoy being around children. The way they roam through the world so freely is incredibly cool to me. In high school and college, I nannied for a family with seven children. I loved the happy chaos. I do not have any children of my own yet but hope to one day.


My journey with CASA started like many… I heard about the organization; thought “wow, what a wonderful cause,” and started going through the motions to become a volunteer. Throughout that process, like I am sure some of you, I paused and asked myself is this something I should do? Am I capable and qualified to be a CASA? To you I say, yes - you can do it, and yes… it is something you should do. Becoming a CASA has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Each time I contemplated submitting the application (and it did take a few months to muster up the courage to submit) the only reason I could think of not to do it seemed selfish… I do not have time, what if it is sad, what if I get attached, what if I cannot handle the details… I, I, I. That is not what CASA is about. It is about THEM. The children who have been dealt an unfortunate hand in life, and just need help.


I am a very emotional person; I become attached to those I care about and was incredibly concerned that those personality traits would cause me trouble. Seeing an animal roaming the sides of the highway sends me into a spiral… I was worried the details would get to me. They have not and it is the best decision I have ever made. The first few times I dropped my CASA child off, I cried on the way home… I felt bad that she was in the situation she was in… I felt bad that she could not lay her head down at night in her own home with her parents and siblings, but then I remembered… She is in a loving home, and her foster parents love and care for her… she is in a school that is working toward positive and attainable goals… She has a CASA volunteer who loves and adores her, and she is incredibly strong; incredibly tough. I reminded myself that if she could deal with all the unfortunate things that had happened to her, I could deal with the tears and the sadness I felt - anything less than that just felt selfish.


I am almost a year in. I took my first case a couple of weeks after completing training in the fall of 2022 and have not looked back. I am on a dual case with another CASA volunteer. I have one of 4 siblings, and the other CASA volunteer has her three brothers. We have worked together in the best interests of the children, and we are making substantial progress. We have spoken to teachers and therapists; worked with our CASA kids to better understand the situation from their perspective; gone on day dates - attend family team meetings… most importantly we have been there for them - a consistent figure in their life; someone who loves them, cares about them, and looks out for their best interest.


The kids came into care due to neglect. My CASA child is placed in a wonderful foster home and her siblings are living with fictive kin. Currently, we are working toward reunification concurrent with adoption. Her parents have made great progress and I am looking forward to seeing where her case is headed. We still have a way to go, but I look forward to walking alongside her until we have established reunification or adoption.


My CASA is nine but operates academically on a Kindergarten level. She has trouble forming sentences but is a wonderful storyteller. She is shy but she is brave - over the course of a few Chick-fil-A visits, she is now a proud and confident orderer. She is capable and strong, until now she just has not been given the tools or opportunities to know she is those things.


She can scale the book mountain at the children’s museum and finish a triple scoop of ice cream in record time. She is determined and motherly - she is loving and compassionate. She is my pen pal, my friend, and a future veterinarian, and she has changed the way I walk through life.


We go on fun dates; she helps me pick the best parking spot, she holds my hand when we cross the street, she swipes the card when we get to the register, she makes sure everyone else is taken care of and she’s got a vertical hug/jump that LeBron James would have a hard time beating. She is the coolest and your CASA kid will be too.


When the time comes, I look forward to accepting another case and being whatever CASA needs me to be. The organization is amazing, the staff is wonderful and there is a NEED for those of us who thought we could not do it. To you, I say: you can, you will do great, you will cry - but that is okay… you will change a child's life and there is nothing more amazing than that.


Best wishes,

A CASA who thought she could not.


Written by Shelby Nunnery, CASA volunteer since fall of 2022

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