Alan and Andrea jumped into their role as CASA’s in Cecil County as soon as they were able. With a background in school counselling as well as volunteering for CASA in West Virginia, Andrea has always had a heart for helping children in need. While Alan didn’t have the same counseling background as his wife, his tendency to be analytical and have an eye for detail made him realize that this position may be a good fit.
Though both Alan and Andrea have the desire to help, they did feel uncertainty prior to committing. “Am I going to be able to spend enough time to make a difference in these kid’s lives?” is a common concern. However, Alan and Andrea were provided with the wonderful opportunity to attend a national CASA convention in Boston prior to beginning their work as advocates. There they learned more about how trauma effects a child, emotional intelligence, and how poverty effects trauma. After attending the training, they were ready to take on their case, and it was a big one with four siblings.
Both Alan and Andrea express the love and compassion that they have for these children. “They are delightful kids and they are all different. They are very active, in great foster homes, they’re clean, well-dressed and healthy…everything you could hope for a child,” touts Andrea. However, as with any case, there are challenges in making sure that all of the children’s needs are met. “You have to recognize that you can’t do everything, despite how much you wish you could” says Alan. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Alan and Andrea do everything they are able for these children. “It’s one of the best jobs I have ever had. It’s frustrating but it’s rewarding,” Alan says with a smile.
Working as a team has been a great advantage for Alan and Andrea. Being able to talk over the case and bounce ideas off of each other helps them each to be better advocates for their children. Working together in this capacity has also enhanced their relationship. Both agree that they have learned things about each other since they began this journey that have made them fall in love with each other even more.
When asked about what their take-away of volunteering with CASA is, Andrea recalls a sticker she had next to her desk when she was working as a school counselor, “The heart of education is the education of the heart.” We are so grateful that Alan and Andrea have opened their hearts to advocate for these foster children.