April 26, 2023
Meet the National Volunteer Council co-chairs
National Volunteer Council co-chair Christine Po
National Volunteer Council co-chair Christine Po has been a CASA/GAL volunteer for Tulsa CASA (Oklahoma) since 2012. Po’s first case as a CASA volunteer involved a four-year-old boy she grew to have a very special bond with.
The child Po served went through 17 placements with Po advocating for him all along the way until his adoptive parents were identified. “He is now almost 15 and he and his family are a special part of my life,” she says.
Po, the youth, and his family were selected to represent Tulsa CASA for the 2018 United Way Campaign.
“It was a wonderful chance to spread the word about the CASA/GAL mission to advocate for children in foster care,” she says.
Po says there are many bright moments a CASA advocate experiences, and the best may be “simply knowing that you have made a difference in this child’s life.”
To those who are considering becoming a CASA volunteer, Po points out the decision to become a child advocate is not a light one but is one of the most rewarding things one can do with their time. She adds that different people bring different talents to the table that can help a child and family.
“I often hear people expressing feelings of inadequacy; yet I can usually help them find the unique skills they possess and ways they can utilize those talents to effectively advocate for a child,” says Po “National and state CASA/GAL bring layers of support on your journey of advocacy. Local CASA/GAL staff are there with you every step of the way to help you advocate for a child’s best interest and achieve permanency in a timely manner.”
Po says she has enjoyed being co-chair of the NVC and it’s been helpful to hear the perspectives, challenges, similarities, and differences of the many local organizations around the U.S. She says after just one year, the council is seeing their thoughts and suggestions come to fruition and the beginning of new initiatives at the national level.
“As an advocate, it is empowering to have my voice heard, to bring challenges we may see at our local level and to not only be heard and respected but to see change happening,” she says.
National Volunteer Council co-chair Jeffrey Jones
Jeffrey Jones, co-chair of National CASA/GAL Association for Children’s National Volunteer Council, began volunteering with the CASA program in New Jersey’s Morris and Sussex counties in 2017, following a 30-year career in logistics. During his career, he learned to work with diverse team members, customers, suppliers, and government agencies across the country. In 2018, he and his wife moved to the Poconos in Pennsylvania, where he connected with the Lackawanna County CASA program to continue his service.
Jones has volunteered on more than a dozen cases. He says the most rewarding part of being a CASA volunteer is the time spent with the children, listening to them, and helping them manage through a difficult period in their life.
Participating in the National Volunteer Council has afforded Jones the opportunity to better understand the scope of the national CASA/GAL network and to understand the shared vision and mission. He says he can convey to CASA volunteers at the local level they are not just volunteering with a local, standalone organization that is advocating for the children, but are also part of a national organization that provides resources and training to help everyone improve their abilities to advocate for children and understand the issues involved.
Jones would tell others who are considering becoming a CASA volunteer, “Come in knowing that you will be in a constant state of learning, both about yourself and how to work with and for your assigned child.” He adds, “The end result of helping a child through a very difficult and scary period in their life is well worth the effort and time.”