Meet our advocate, Linda!
Linda is originally from Statesboro, Georgia, but she moved to Polk County in 2008 upon her retirement. Linda was previously an adult educator of Business Marketing at Ogeechee Technical School before moving onto become the Coordinator of Educational Affairs in the Dean’s office at Georgia Southern University. She then served as an office administrator at her husband’s dental office for the last eighteen years of her professional career before retirement. Linda has two sons, two daughters, and eight grandchildren whom she loves dearly.
Linda was sworn in as an advocate for CASA in October of 2020. Her interest was sparked in CASA when she had a personal connection to a case in which CASA was involved. She remembers being so impressed with the advocate assigned to the case and admired the way that the advocate showed a genuine interest in what the child involved in the case had to say. She says, “They listened to everybody, but their main concern was the child. That was impressive to me.” The advocate working on this case encouraged Linda to become an advocate in her community, and Linda began taking steps to do so.
When asked why she chose to become an advocate despite the challenges it can bring, Linda said, “Just because you can’t provide a perfect solution to a problem doesn’t mean you don’t try to solve it with the tools you have. Anywhere in life, there are going to be challenges that may not be resolved in the perfect way that you think they should be, but you need to know in your heart that you made every effort you could to help. Someone needs to make the effort to listen to these children and go to bat for them.”
Linda says that her heart was stolen by CASA’s mission because it resonates with something she is passionate about: lifting up the voices of children. “When I was working at the university, I was involved in a program for disadvantaged children that were often experiencing problems at home. My heart has always been with these kids that have a disadvantage, whether it be social, emotional, or physical, and their voices always seem to get left out of the court system. It’s my desire to make their voices heard.”
When asked why advocacy is important in our community, Linda said, “Well, advocacy is important in every community – but our community specifically is kind of isolated. There are many homes that aren’t built together and sometimes things happen that people just miss. We need eyes and ears open to what’s happening to our children. When the court appoints a CASA to go advocate for a child, that child gains an ally. The amount of time and effort it takes to advocate for a child is so small in comparison to the magnitude of a difference you can make in a child’s life.”
Linda believes in CASA because she believes in the agenda of the agency. She says, “We are finding information for the court and reporting back to the court in a non-biased manner. We give facts to the court, but in those facts, we are cognizant of the child – what they want and what’s best for them. CASA plays a part that no other system does for the child. Everyone has their own part that they play for the children in the court system, but CASA’s part is wholeheartedly geared towards the child. We can find a commonplace between what a child wants and what the court can do for them. We need more CASA volunteers that can be the voices of the child. When someone volunteers to be a CASA, there is such tremendous support to help them be successful in their endeavors to work with children who have been neglected or abused. It is a privilege to be involved in a child’s life to assist the courts in making the best decision for them so they can live in a way that allows for success in their lives.”
We are thankful for volunteer advocates like Linda.
*The children pictured are Linda’s grandchildren and CASA has been given permission to post their photo.