Come along this week as we get to know some of our Dallas CASA supervisors.
At Dallas CASA, every child’s case is staffed by a volunteer who is supervised by a member of the Dallas CASA program staff. For volunteers, a Dallas CASA supervisor is often counselor, teacher, friend and lifeline all wrapped into one. Dallas CASA’s almost 50 full-time volunteer supervisors keep cases running, answer questions, accompany volunteers on visits if needed and attend court hearings. They are truly the oil to Dallas CASA’s engine.
Dallas CASA supervisors Beth Glasgow, Ruth Holland, Karen Robbins and Tina Roth form one “pod” in the upstairs program office at Dallas CASA. The foursome share a workspace, but more importantly they share knowledge, experience, cases and advice.
The group agrees that the rewarding times in child advocacy outweigh the tough times. For Ruth, seeing things like a four-year-old girl hug her advocate hard around the neck on her adoption day is what keeps her motivated. A mother, grandmother and former elementary teacher, Ruth was a volunteer advocate before coming on staff in 2002. She starts every case with an advocate by asking what brought them to Dallas CASA. For her, it’s often the start of a long relationship.
After nearly 30 years with Child Protective Services, Karen came to work at Dallas CASA three years ago. Even with so much experience, she still gets excited meeting new advocates and getting new cases.
“I get the case, and I’m immediately thinking of what we need to do, things to find out, how the case might end,” she said. “And I love every one of my advocates.”
For Beth, a mother of two young children, the most difficult cases are often the most rewarding. Advocates can get discouraged, but when a case comes to a successful conclusion and advocates can see that years of hard work lay the groundwork for that success it’s both gratifying and renewing. It often sparks an advocate to ask for a tougher case the next time.
After 20 years working for the state on aging and disability issues, Tina joined the team of Dallas CASA supervisors eight years ago. A photographer, digital artist and grandmother of four kids under five, working in close quarters with her pod brings joy to her job. “If anyone is ever on vacation, we’re the first ones to offer to cover their cases,” she said. “We’re constantly sharing notes and touching base on everything.”
All four say paperwork is not their favorite job duty. Keeping Optima, the advocate reporting software, up to date on each case is a challenge. But working together, with volunteers and especially children keeps them going through court hearings, child visitation, home studies … and even paperwork.