How being a CASA volunteer has come back to me many times over as a wonderful gift
In honor of our volunteers birthdays, we do a social media post. One of our volunteers, Rann Capps, shared about his personal experience below.
“My journey with CASA began when my doctor said I had too much time on my hands and find something to do. Never in my life have I have been given such excellent advice.
It all started one summer when I had two snakes get in the old house I rented, and one bit me! Skipping the grisly details, there was a slight possibility it was a coral snake, and I spent an afternoon at the ER being tested. Fortunately, it was not, but I looked up coral snakes and related my findings to my doctor. It was a little bit more information than she wanted to know about coral snakes, and that’s when she said go out and find something to do besides looking up snake venom.
Taking my doctor’s advice, I searched the web for volunteer opportunities. I found an organization that had a little name with a big mission: CASA. CASA greeted me with open arms, and I went into this to help others with no expectation of anything in return, but boy, did I get back far more than I could ever imagine.
The world of juvenile court, social workers, and the untold number of suffering children opened up to me during my training period to be a CASA volunteer. Who knew so many innocent eyes would be looking, searching, hoping for help? I knew that alone I couldn’t do anything but together we could make a lasting difference in these kids’ lives. Now, I’m sure the children I personally helped will never forget that man they vaguely remember as “Mr. Rann.”
I was asked to write this in part because my birthday is coming up. I think most of us reach an age where we don’t particularly look forward to that day. We’re another year older and reflect on what we have or haven’t accomplished during the past year. Personally, it’s not just my birthday (as well as my sister’s) but also the anniversary of my mother’s death just a couple of years ago.
During the time of my mother’s death, I had a case with two siblings. The foster family, these kids, and I had formed a particularly strong bond due to the unusually long length of the case. Late that summer, the foster mother’s father had died after a lengthy illness. I made the monthly trip to their home for my CASA duties but I also paid my respects to her. You come to realize that it’s more than just pushing a pencil for a report. By that time, I had become not just an advocate but more of a friendly neighbor dropping by for a visit.
This simple gesture moved her and when my own mother passed, the foster mother reached out as did the Central Georgia CASA office which meant a great deal to me. Her estate is particularly complicated, and these simple acts of kindness lightened that load for me, if just only for the day.
In addition, during training, it was mentioned that recording conversations can be beneficial because it enables you to be more engaged and pointed out that the voice memo app on the phone could do it (some states require you to notify people that they are being recorded). I then found an app to use, and I didn’t understand how it worked and as such it recorded all my telephone calls. Now, I have all these wonderful telephone conversations with my late mother to listen to when I’m ready, thanks, in part, to CASA.
I never expected anything in return by simply trying to give back to the community, pay it forward, or help someone less fortunate than I was. Yet, it’s coming back to me many times over as a wonderful gift.”