Sunday, Jan 20, 2019
When it was founded in 1999, it became clear that CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties was a nonprofit that needed kind, compassionate individuals who were ready for hands-on experience in helping children. Now, 20 years later, the volunteer opportunity CASA offers has brought out the best of our communities and people who have proven that anyone can be an everyday hero and help advocate for abused and neglected children in need. Among these stellar individuals is Candie Toller, who is a retired teacher, a mother, grandmother, wife, and as of 2016, a CASA Volunteer Advocate. In two short years she has shown an inspiring level of dedication and fervor for the program and was chosen by the CASA team for January Advocate of the Month.
Candie first became a CASA while working as a substitute teacher, and after retiring, decided to make CASA her main focus. For her current case Candie advocates for two children, both under 2 years old. The youngest has a feeding tube and was born with a cleft palette among other health issues. Both children were taken from their home after they were experiencing neglect and their father was sent to jail. Now that they are in foster care, both girls have made significant progress in their social skills, while the youngest’s health issues have also improved. Not wanting this to be a permanent switch however, those on the case have been glad to see the mother make leaps and bounds herself in doing all she can to prove she will be able to once again care for her children. Candie has been a significant factor in facilitating communication between the mother and those involved; she is advocating for reunification, and helping the mother take steps toward that goal. Among having another child on the way, the mother does not currently have a stable job or housing due to cutting ties with the abusive father, but Candie hopes to help the mother get back on her feet and be able to care for all of her children.
“She has a great relationship with the mother, and the family looks to her for support,” says her Senior Program Coordinator, Paula Stack. She also notes Candie is great at keeping the entire team in the loop of the case, whether it be emails, phone calls, or even offering support and how she can better herself as a CASA. “She is very compassionate and kind, and easy to work with. I appreciate her enthusiasm and commitment to CASA!” Paula adds.
Candie says she takes great joy in her visits, and regularly checks up on the children to read books with them, play games, go outside, and whatever else to help make sure they know she is someone they can trust.
Since joining CASA in 2016, Candie has risen to Peer Coordinator status, where she helps supervise six CASA Volunteers. When a CASA needs advice, direction, or overall support, Peer Coordinators such as Candie do their best to alleviate the issue at hand, which has made the program in Adams and Broomfield Counties become significantly more efficient while keeping the budget on par to meet the needs of the program and the children it serves. Our program currently has 12 Peer Coordinators like Candie, and since the implementation of the Peer Coordinator Model, CASA has been overjoyed with its success in helping CASA Volunteers get the support they need.
While her peers and her Senior Program Coordinator think Candie’s efforts are above and beyond, Candie remains humble in thinking anyone can do the same and encourages anyone she can to become a CASA Volunteer or even a Peer Coordinator. “Go for it,” she says. “It’s wonderful. If anyone deserves a voice its these children!”
Candie also took the time to thank CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties for the support she has received during her time with the program; “The CASA team is marvelous, there isn’t a time I’ve reached out and they aren’t there to help me with the problems I am having.”
CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties would like to reciprocate our gratitude: we are extremely thankful for her efforts in improving the lives of children in our program!