Before becoming a CASA volunteer advocate, Joanne Stroshine was a high school teacher who saw many students at risk because they lacked the skills to cope with everyday challenges due to the abuse and neglect they were experiencing at home. After retiring, she joined CASA to try to break the generational chain with the goal of creating a brighter future for victimized children.
As a CASA, Joanne gets to know not only the child and the parents, but also the child’s DCYF (Division of Children, Youth and Families) caseworker, teachers and other community service providers involved in the case. Her role is to advocate on behalf of the child’s best interests, providing clear, unbiased recommendations for the judge to consider when making decisions affecting the child’s future. “I have been involved with four cases since joining CASA and the only common denominator among them has been the genuine love that the parents and children feel for each other,” Joanne recently shared.
In one of her cases, that love convinced the mother to make the very difficult decision to give up her son for adoption. She wanted someone who could give him the safe and permanent home that her struggle with substance misuse prevented her from providing.
“The greatest reward I could have received came on adoption day when, with joy in his eyes and voice, he announced, ‘I get to go to my forever home, now.’”
She said the next best reward was meeting the mother a year later and learning that she was sober and sees her son periodically. The mother thanked Joanne for helping them both get to a better place.
Joanne is just one of hundreds of advocates making a difference in the lives of victimized children through the generous support of donors like you. Your contributions enable us to advocate for more than a thousand children each year to help them find safe, stable and nurturing homes, free from abuse and neglect. As Joanne reminds us, “The challenges are great, but the rewards are greater.”