An episode of Dr. Phil piqued the interests of Jeff and Helen Stemmer to be Court Appointed Special Advocates for children. After a great deal of discussion, the couple knew they wanted to get involved, but thought maybe they should wait until after their youngest daughter left home.
Over the next couple of months, it seemed the couple was seeing CASA everywhere.
“It felt as though God was telling us not to wait,” said Helen, “and so we signed up together to begin the very next CASA training.”
In October 2015, the couple completed their training and each received their first case. Since that time, Jeff and Helen have served on a total of eight cases acting as the voices for children in need.
Each has a case that remains embedded in their minds.
“My second case really stands out to me because the two children were so sad and somber,” Helen said. “The parents were in denial about their situation and never really bonded with the children during their visits. But in the end, the children were adopted and they are so happy where they are. I stay in touch with them. They smile a lot now and laugh frequently. I am so happy I was a part of bringing these children into a happy, loving family.”
For Jeff, however, the case that sticks out was tragic in a different way.
“In my last case the child’s father was doing great, working his plan and even moved the child into his home,” he said. “Everything was going well and we were preparing for the final court date to close the case when he suffered a massive stroke and passed away. This was very disheartening for everyone involved. The previous foster parents decided to pursue adoption and in the end, the child was able to find permanency with loving parents.”
CASA volunteers are trained adults who advocate for a child’s best interest in juvenile court. Volunteers get to know the child by spending time with them each month in addition to talking with those involved in the child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. The information they gather is used to inform the judge of what the child’s needs are.
For more information, click here.
You can help CASA help children by having a good time this Friday. The Downtown Lady, 126 S Main St, is hosting a “Gobble till You Wobble” turkey wobble from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for a $5 donation at the door to benefit CASA. The event hosts dancing, drawings and music. For more information, click here.
You can also support CASA on Black Friday without spending any extra money by shopping AmazonSmile.com. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to CASA for Children