Monday, Feb 3, 2020
Lisa Romeo, January’s Advocate of the Month, began her journey as a CASA Volunteer in 2019 and quickly made a positive impression on CASA staff, the professional team, and the school her CASA child attends. Lisa was an elementary school teacher for 32 years and remained a substitute teacher for another 7 years after her retirement. As an educator, she was familiar with children being in the system, and she wanted to help. Becoming a CASA Volunteer had always been of interest, so she was happy to be able to make the commitment last year.
Lisa advocates for an elementary aged girl whose case opened due to educational neglect. Because of a variety of issues at home, the girl had missed more than 100 days over the course of her less than three years in school. This child’s story spoke to Lisa, and with her expertise in education, she thought she could really make an impact. Lisa admits it has been more difficult than she thought to gain traction with the girl and family. Lisa believes the school and the teachers are very supportive and responsive to her involvement with the girl.
With this support from the school and teachers, Lisa has had success visiting the girl during the school day. One of the ways she has been able to connect with her is through artmaking. She brings markers and crayons, allowing the girl to self-lead in what type of artmaking she wants to do. During these moments, Lisa has been able to step back, observe the girl, and gain a better understanding of her. She feels having a background in education has helped in navigating the relationship and building trust with her.
In the short time Lisa has served on this case, she has already begun to see progress. The girl has turned in homework for the first time this year and recently spelled three words correctly on a test. The teacher also reports progress, as the girl has begun to participate in class. Lisa wants to continue working with her to build her confidence in reading.
Lisa says that being a CASA Volunteer has been a very rewarding experience. The support she receives from the CASA Program has made things easier in understanding how to navigate the system. The advice and guidance she has received from her Senior Program Coordinator and through the trainings offered by CASA have been extremely helpful when trying to form a connection with the girl.
Lisa believes the most important role she provides as an advocate for the child is to help set her up for academic success, and her hope is she can continue to work with her into the next school year. The CASA Program wants to thank Lisa for her dedication and determination in supporting her CASA child to reach her potential.