Those who follow CASA have probably noticed we have several new faces at CASA in recent months. We are so excited to be bringing on so many amazing new staff members, especially now as we welcome record numbers of new volunteers. With so many unknowns happening all over the world, but especially in child welfare, this influx of committed volunteers comes at just the right time. One of those new staff members is Cicely who joins us as an EDM Supervisor. Program Director Trish Kinkle says, “Cicely first stood out to us because of her experience. 12 years working with the same agency in Child Welfare is quite a feat! She has experience with almost every aspect of child welfare, from the initial investigation to supporting family reunification and even writing adoption profiles.”CASA was so pleased to have Cicely join our staff and she sat down to talk to us about her new role. Read on to learn more about her
You’re a new staff member, what brought you to CASA?As soon as I learned about the Education Decision Maker (EDM) supervisor position being available I knew that it was something I was really interested in and that my background would be a good fit. As a social worker in the adoption field, I’ve advocated for clients getting the supports and resources needed to be academically successful as well as for colleagues or friends to return back to school to achieve their dreams. I feel strongly that while some don’t see the importance of education it is a vital foundation and that something that can’t be taken away and should be guaranteed to everyone. Having been a social worker for more than a decade I have seen the damage that can be done if educational rights are not protected and I love the idea of being part of an organization that advocates for children to get that important foundation in life.
How does working with volunteers differ from your previous work in child welfare?Working with volunteers is certainly different than working with a professional team, yet in some ways it is the same. Everyone within the CASA program be it a volunteer, the professional team members and other colleagues care about the children involved in the “system” and want to make a difference in a child and/or family’s life by being part of their life for a period of time. I see a big part of my job as helping to explain and interpret the child welfare system when working with community volunteers who may not fully understand it. At the same time, I find that working with volunteers with different background helps me to see the circumstances of a case from a different perspective I may not have seen it from previously.
How has it been to start a new job during COVD? Prior to working at CASA, I was with the same employer for 12 years. So, starting a job as a whole has been a big change getting used to new policies and procedures along with meeting new people. The only thing about starting a new job during COVID is that, of course, I’m having to learn about CASA and build new relationships virtually. We have started doing some occasional office hours and hope the courts give us permission to do in-person visits soon. I look forward to getting things back to normal!
What else would you like CASA volunteers to know about you? I’m a caring individual that tries to help in any way that I can. I have an open-door policy and hope that they feel comfortable reaching out to me at any time. I listen to volunteers as a sounding board if they just want to vent and if they have questions, I will always try my best to get the answers to help them.