Part-Time Heroes

Jason Wang
Volunteer CASA since: 2006

Why did you decide to become a Child Advocate volunteer?
[These children] deserve better than they have. Being a CASA let's me help them by [advocating] with an adult's perspective, confidence and experience.

What has been your most memorable experience as a CASA?
Sitting on a witness stand to answer questions in front of the court was a sobering experience but I simply had to remind myself why I was there - to advocate for a child and ensure his voice was not lost in whatever was being said. I was there to advocate for his safety, a nurturing environment and a permanent home.

What is your life like outside of volunteering with Child Advocates?
I am a production planner for a manufacturing company. I’m an avid mountain bike rider in the spring, summer, and fall, and during the winter I cross country ski.

What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering for CGCASA, but hasn’t yet made the commitment?
If you want to be relevant and someone who has real impact on a child's life, CASA is a great way to get involved.

Kathy Smith
Volunteer CASA since: February 2006

Why did you decide to become a CASA volunteer?
Through my job at the Commission I get a bird’s eye view of what is going on with families in Hood River County and was grateful for the opportunity to help. I decided that I could make a small difference, one on one, for a child going through this traumatic experience.

What has been your most memorable experience as a CASA?
My most memorable experience was being in court, stating my opinion and having the judge agree and direct DHS and others based on what I had said.

What is your life like outside of volunteering with CASA?
I spend lots of time on projects for my new house -- painting, landscaping, repairs. I also teach adult computer literacy classes for Community Education, and I enjoy walking my two small dogs and relaxing with a good book.

What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering for CGCASA, but hasn’t yet made the commitment?
If you want to help children have the best quality of life possible, get them out of untenable circumstances, and improve their long-term outlook, but don’t needs lots of public kudos and recognition, then CASA is for you. We hear about horrible things that happen with abused and neglected children, but as a CASA you can break that cycle and offer hope.

Mary Macnab
Volunteer CASA since: 1989

Why did you decide to become a CASA volunteer?
I had worked as a court reporter in the court system and observed child welfare workers testifying. I knew I could do a good job.

What has been your most memorable experience as a CASA?
Seeing several children find permanent, loving homes.

What is your life like outside of volunteering with CASA?
I am a mom of five, grandma of six, just retired after 13 years working with young children with disabilities. My husband and I are looking forward to taking our travel trailer and hitting the road. I also love to read, and am involved in my church.

What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering for CGCASA, but hasn’t yet made the commitment?
Don't be afraid. Just remember that the child you are advocating for needs your help.

Prudence Amick
Volunteer CASA since: 2007

Why did you decide to become a Child Advocate volunteer?
As a court employee who clerked in the courtroom, I had the opportunity to listen to CASAs advocating for their kids at hearings. What they had to say and the passion they had for what they were doing inspired me to become a CASA when I retired.

What has been your most memorable experience as a CASA?
When one of my kids asked, when informed he was getting a new DHS caseworker, "Does that mean I have to get a new CASA too?" And when I told him no, that I would still be his CASA, he gave me a big hug and said, "I'm glad you'll still be here." Which made me realize that I was making a difference in this child's life.

What is your life like outside of volunteering with Child Advocates?
Retired Judicial Support Specialist for the Oregon Judicial Dept. Widowed, with two sons and one granddaughter. Siblings and extended family in New England, where I was born and raised, and in California. Also volunteer at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, the Sheriff's Dept. and Mid-Columbia Council of Governments with the SHIBA program and the Money Management program. Love to read, garden, ride my bike, and bake bread.

What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering for CGCASA, but hasn’t yet made the commitment?
That it is interesting, sometimes frustrating, emotionally demanding work, and one of the most satisfying things I have done in my life. These kids need people who care about them, who are willing to take the time to get to know them, and to stand up and speak for the child's interests in court.