Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018
October Advocate of the Month
The work we do at CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties is made possible by the dedicated individuals who are passionate about improving the lives of vulnerable children. When thinking about volunteers who have gone above and beyond for their CASA children, Charlene Campbell immediately comes to mind, and we are happy to recognize her as the October Advocate of the Month.
A grandmother of four, a wife, a retired teacher, and a member of a mentor group, Charlene is a perfect example of a person who has given her life to help enrich the lives of others. During her retirement party in 2011, a friend approached her, shared about the CASA organization, and mentioned what a great advocate she would make. Knowing that her time was not finished giving back to her community, Charlene joined the CASA family as a volunteer the following month. “I have always loved working with kids and thought it would be a great avenue to continue working with them,” she says.
Charlene just closed her fourth case in August, which involved two adolescent girls who had been neglected. The mother, who subjected them to dangerous and adult situations, left them alone much of the time. When the case opened, the youngest daughter was pregnant as a result of an incident with an older man, which resulted in jail time for him. Charlene was with this teen and her older sister through removal from the home, a number of out-of-home placements, and the birth of the youngest girl’s baby. The oldest girl’s case was closed as she aged out of the system. Charlene continued to advocate for the youngest girl as a case was opened for her child, who was assigned their own CASA Volunteer. There have been ups and downs with this case as the girl lost custody of her baby, regained it, and lost it again. The teen mom has since made huge strides in making changes to prove to the courts she has the skills necessary to care for her child. Throughout the case Charlene has been this girl’s confidante, helping her to analyze all sides of the picture, guiding her decision-making process, but not making decisions for her. She researched and presented educational opportunities and arranged tutoring for this young mom. The girl graduated high school with college credits. Her own case was closed when she aged out of the system. She is hopeful her child’s case will close this winter, and she will be granted custody once again. Charlene says, "She found the love and support she needed to move forward, grow in confidence, and is pursuing her goals for independent living."
Charlene says she is grateful for her relationship with this young woman and that she could help her move forward despite “hiccups along the way.” She notes her biggest goal with this case and every case is to help keep youth on track with their education. In her eyes, education is the most vital thing these children have to help them better their chances for bright futures. “It’s invaluable work, you don’t realize until you’re in the middle of your case. CASAs keep an extra eye on the case, and the information that is brought forward from our perspective is so helpful to the other professionals.” Charlene adds that she is also grateful for the support she gets on cases, including the support from the Judicial Officers. “Judges do value you as a professional, which I appreciate. They make you feel like your input is wanted and needed.”
Thank you, Charlene, from all of us at CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties for your years of dedication to this program!