CASA of Lake County volunteer helps kids make it
Jane Glover is volunteer with CASA – a nonprofit membership organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the juvenile court system. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:17AM
VERNON HILLS — Jane Glover is a volunteer for CASA of Lake County. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. The organization is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system. Volunteers who train to become advocates stay involved with the same child for two years – sometimes longer. To learn more, call 847-383-6260 or visit www.casalakecounty.com.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with CASA?
A: I started in April, 2011 after going through the training.
Q: How did you find out about CASA and what compelled you to volunteer?
A: I read about the organization in the newspaper and really wanted to get involved. I feel very fortunate that my children have never needed someone to advocate for them so I wanted to help kids who need that.
Q: What have you found surprising or interesting since becoming a volunteer?
A: There’s always that rush to help others and it’s nice to do that, but through doing this my eyes have really been opened. I’ve gained an understanding and appreciation for people and environments that I never had any exposure to. I’ve always tried to be open-minded, but now I feel that I truly am open-minded. For instance, I had never known anyone who had been to prison before. You begin to understand people’s circumstances in a very real way.
Q: Did your training help you understand the challenges the adults in these kids’ lives face?
A: Very much! For instance, one of the exercises we did is make a list of things in our life that are stressors. For me, being a working mom, one of the things I put down was work demands on my time. So I made this whole list. And then we were shown a list of stressors a parent in prison might have whose child is in foster care. My stressors were small and insignificant by comparison. I don’t have substance abuse problems. I don’t have financial problems. I’m not being abused. These are all issues people might be dealing with in addition to losing custody of their kids.
Q: What has been the best part of your volunteer experience thus far?
A: The relationship with my CASA baby is the most rewarding. I see her every three weeks, and you really form a relationship. It’s immensely gratifying. My own kids are 16 and 19 so I get to indulge in that desire to have a little one when you’re too old to do it yourself.
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a CASA volunteer?
A: I would say to do it. It’s such a wonderful organization. People from all walks of life, all ages, all professions volunteer. Everyone is just amazing. And don’t let the time commitment scare you. It just becomes part of your life. It becomes very natural. I would also tell people not to think that maybe they aren’t qualified. Anyone who does this, if you truly believe in it, can make a difference in a child’s life.