October 22, 2020
Volunteers of the year advocate together
In fifty years of marriage, a couple experiences a lot. For Ellen and Billy Alexander, volunteering together with CASA of Harrison County has been among their most interesting experiences. The couple celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary in October 2020, the same month they received the National CASA/GAL Association’s G.F. Bettineski Child Advocate of the Year Award, an award that recognizes volunteers who have made significant contributions to promoting the best interests of children, and who support the CASA/GAL program in their community.
“It’s been very rewarding for us,” says Billy. “When you’ve been together that many years, you run out of things to talk about. Volunteering with the CASA program has really filled the gap.”
Ellen was the first to get involved with the CASA program, after seeing an ad in the newspaper for child advocates. She clipped the ad and saved it in her wallet – not knowing what the program was about – then finally decided to make the call and learn more.
That call paid off, and she found the volunteer experience exceptionally rewarding. Unlike other volunteer efforts they’d been involved in – raising money or donating goods – this was different. Billy became a volunteer six months later, and this dynamic duo has worked on cases together for the last eight years.
They value the bonds they have formed with children and families – many of whom they keep in touch with after seeing families reunified or children adopted. Some of the cases are difficult, but the work is rewarding. The personal growth, the opportunity to make a real difference and the knowledge they’ve gained make the experience incredibly worthwhile.
“Every single case is different, but we still managed to learn something new from each one of them,” says Ellen.
They are huge advocates for the CASA program in their community, helping to recruit new volunteers and sharing their passion for the CASA mission with their peers. The time they’ve spent together on this special volunteer work has made a lasting impression not only on Ellen and Billy, but on the numerous children and families they have served.