CASA of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties is this quarter’s RMCC Gives recipient, and this amazing organization was brought to our attention by our broker Paula DeCrescentis. Paula has been an avid supporter and volunteer of this incredible nonprofit for a long time, and her passion for CASA is contagious! She has so many amazing stories about the kids she’s been able to spend time with, and it’s inspiring to hear all of the wonderful work she’s done over the years.
Tell us how you got involved in volunteering with CASA.
My sister has been a CASA volunteer for over 10 years and I saw how much she was involved and loved what she was doing. I had been to a few breakfasts to see what it involved.
How often do you volunteer with CASA and what types of things have you done for them?
For me, I usually put on average 2-3 hours per week with an occasional all day if it involves the Zoo, The Stock show, The Nature and History museum. I have Grandparent memberships and they let me take my CASA kids in. There are times in the summer when CASA has all-day fishing events or camps that you can sign your kids up for. First Tee of Denver lets my kids take lessons. There are lots of free things to take the kids to. Digging for fossils, sledding, walks in the park…it doesn’t always have to cost money.
When assigned, your case can last up to 18 months. Most of mine have been about 1 year. When you see them weekly for a year you have special connections with them. In my last case that closed, I had 3 little boys ages 4,5,6. The older boy asked if he could call me whenever he wanted to since I wasn’t going to see them regularly anymore. Of course! I have invited my former families to zoo lights. I still keep in touch if they want to. Some parents would rather not stay connected so you respect that.
Why has it become such an important organization for you to support?
Most all of us have grown up in loving normal functioning families but these kids have had their whole worlds turned upside down from parents who are abusive or are alcohol/drug addicts. They can talk to you and know that when I attend Court hearings I tell the judge what the kids ask me to tell them or for the kids to just feel safe being around you. I just want the kids that get assigned to me to feel happy and safe about something and have something to look forward to in their lives.
Please share a specific story or two that stands out to you during your time as a volunteer as the most memorable and impactful.
A funny story about the 3 little boys that I had during the summer of 2019. I took them on the light rail since they had not experienced that before. We went to Union Station so they could see where the trains come in, and it’s free to run through the water fountains there. We were coming back up to the street level and approaching the escalator. We were all holding hands and when we got to the escalator all 3 came to a screeching halt. I looked at them with their eyes really wide open and said “What’s the Matter”? Well, they had never seen an escalator let alone get on one. LOL They got the hang of it. After a run through the water and an ice cream, we headed back home.
Tell us about your fundraising goal for RMCC Gives and CASA.
We have so many children that need a CASA. Since the pandemic, we have not really had person-to-person contact with the kids so it’s phone calls, zoom if they have the equipment for it, or taking ice cream to them over the fence. Lots of parents losing jobs which adds to the addictions and attitudes. A little child is so easy to take their anger out on. All this is going on and nobody knows! We need more advocates to get trained and assigned to these children. I am hoping to raise $10,000. I am writing to family, friends, and clients and will be calling for their donations. I am hoping that all the agents in our office donate at their closings and extra! Anyone in our office can be a CASA. You can be at the CASA in Denver which I volunteered at too. Your time to these kids really matters in a big way.