CASA Advocates Corner
One of the greatest things you can give is your time
Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless but because they are PRICELESS
Volunteer Appreciation Week 2020
“My passion to help families locate the resources they need appears almost daily in my role as a coordinator for the Parent Educator Resource Center for Marshall County Schools. Helping to make daily life manageable for families allows for increased chances for a child to experience success while in school and in life. My passion to assist families comes from my early years. I was born in 1959; one of eleven children, I grew up very poor and from an abusive home. Living with a large family was not always easy; there were always obstacles to overcome. Life experiences taught me early on that I wanted to change things.
I married Mike Baker in 1977 and together raised three sons, in recent years our family has increased by 3 daughter-in-laws and 6 grandchildren. During our 43 years of marriage and raising three sons, I realized the need to be involved with their children’s education. Therefore, I became a parent volunteer at their elementary school and was the president of the parent teacher organization for ten years. Along with volunteering at the school, I also served on the committee initiating the PEARLS Volunteer program for the county. I have been running the PEARLS program at McNinch Elementary for 27 years.
For the past 11 years, I have been a volunteer for the CASA organization. Through working with the children that I have been a CASA for I have learned of many sad cases and heart wrenching situations. I make sure every day that I put things in place to make the children live safer and to feel like they have a person in their life that truly cares about them. Also as a CASA, I try to be supportive of the adults that are involved as well. Knowing that the whole family needs resources to foster the child’s success. Even though I am the person there supporting the children I to get so much out of it. I am very proud to be able to be a part of the CASA Organization. There is no better or more rewarding feeling then to be able to make a difference in a child’s life. So every day I strive to be that positive difference in a child’s life.” -Susie Baker
Jasmyn King is a student at West Liberty University studying social work and minoring in addiction studies. She loves kayaking and adventuring with her boyfriend, Mike, and their little dog, Taquito. Her ultimate goal is to help develop community programs to combat and eventually cause a downturn in the growing opioid epidemic. She has spent over ten years as a waitress within the Ohio Valley and has learned that the best part of her job is the myriad of people that sit at her tables. Jasmyn firmly believes that every person’s story, from trials to triumphs, is intended to have a great impact on this world.
In 2016, while Jasmyn was working at local family owned restaurant and a residential mental health facility for adolescents, she received a call from her mother that two children she loved dearly had been removed from the family and were now in custody of the Department of Health and Human Resources. Without hesitation, Jasmyn became a certified foster parent in order to be considered a kinship care provider. At 23 years old, Jasmyn began to care for these two children while learning how to utilize the community resources available. These life experiences instilled a need in Jasmyn to advocate for those going through difficult times, unable to express their own needs.
During her journey, Jasmyn has learned how important community support is and feels honored to be able to share the support she once received. As Jasmyn faced court appearances with fear and uncertainty, she was met with a smile and a sense of comfort by a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer named Erin. Erin taught her that this process is meant to be for the betterment of all lives. As of April 16, 2020, Jasmyn has been a certified volunteer with CASA for one year.
A foster/adoptive parent once said, “Jasmyn, I would love to see you making the decisions for the children’s lives. This generation needs someone like you.” These kind words humbled and inspired Jasmyn. While she realizes that she alone cannot save the world, volunteering for CASA has made her realize each small step she takes has the potential to unknowingly snowball into something far greater.
Jasmyn is especially inspired by this quote: “People who really want to make a difference in the world usually do it, in one way or another. And I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.” -Kisses from Katie
My name is Jodi Reager. I have been a CASA Volunteer for almost 10 years. I first heard about CASA for Children from the Dr Phil show in 2010. I never knew that this organization existed before that. I thought to myself this sounds like something I might be interested in, but that is as far as it went at that time. I then attended a Women’s Conference at The Experience Church and Susan, the Executive Director of the local CASA FOR Children, spoke about how you could volunteer and help children who were in abuse and neglect situations. This was when I realized that God was gently nudging me to make the call and look into this. I was not working and the time and I had lost one of my daughters and my husband in a horrible accident. To say the least I was a little lost, so I made the call and jumped right in before I could talk myself out of it. I started my classes and I thought oh crap what did I get myself into. I didn’t have a background in psychology, social services or law, but I quickly found out that it didn’t matter. I just had to care enough to want to make a difference. Being a CASA Volunteer means you are a voice for what is best for the abused and neglected child, however you are also working with the family to point them towards services that they may not have known were there to help them. I have found, through my years as a Volunteer, that in many cases the family unit it to damaged to keep together, but sometimes they just need help. Whatever happens in a case you know you did what you could do to help the situation. Was it heartbreaking at times...yes it was, however I also saw families mended and some children find wonderful homes and families to call there own. My journey has taken me through many cases, mostly in Ohio County, and a few full time jobs since I started with CASA. I am now remarried to a wonderful man and working for the Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. I have stepped down from CASA, however If God is willing I will return to Volunteering for them one day.