At SFCASA we have a plethora of amazing volunteers advocating on behalf of San Francisco’s foster youth. This month we would like to feature Debbie: a volunteer who not only has been instrumental in her child’s placement, but has shown great creativity in activities with her child, and been extremely helpful to the staff of SFCASA in producing our 2010 holiday party.
Upon being assigned to her first CASA youth, Debbie had to adjust to many uncertainties. She has found that being comfortable with the unknowns has been her biggest challenge in working as a CASA. Despite all of the hard work she contributes to her advocacy, she now realizes that she will never have all the answers. This is okay with her each time she sees her youth and realizes what a difference she has made in his life. Debbie is now working with her third youth and was overwhelmed when her current CASA youth 11 year old Brian informed her he had told his friends about her, calling her his “favorite auntie.”
With her case supervisor’s support, Debbie has attained funding for music lessons, summer camp, and yoga classes for her youth. Very inventive in terms of activities, Debbie began her activities with Brian with a San Francisco pizza tour. She and Brian kept a pizza journal in which they would review each pizza place they visited. This not only provided an opportunity to enjoy pizza, it also provided the two with something to talk about, a consistent reminder that Debbie would be back to finish the journal, an educational writing experience for Brian that was fun. Other activities include going to the movies and visiting used bookstores at which they pick out a book that they can read and discuss during their visits. “I still need to finish Peter Pan – I’ve fallen behind!” claims Debbie.
Debbie explains the impact her CASA work has had on her life: “Being a CASA is the hardest job, paid or unpaid, that I’ve had. It’s also been the most rewarding. I have the honor of hanging out once a week with a young man who challenges me to be open, honest and respectful. In return, I get to laugh at fart jokes, see every 3D movie that hits the screens, talk about books and eat pizza. How cool is that?”
Debbie was also the driving force behind our crafts-oriented 2010 Holiday party for our kids. We cannot thank Debbie enough for her coordination of our holiday party. The party was incredibly successful and was great fun for our youth and volunteers alike!