How one CASA volunteer is advocating for a foster child's best interest. There are approximately 14,300 children in Arizona's foster care system who needs a Jay. Find our more about becoming a volunteer. Advocate. Don't wait.
| Maxine Piper
When Gila County resident Maxine Piper retired after 25 years working for DES, she began her retirement like many people. She moved to Strawberry, spent more time with her children and grandchild and tended to her garden. She even picked up some part time work providing legal representation on telephonic unemployment insurance hearings.
But despite a fulfilling and busy life, Piper wanted more.
"I found that I was really motivated to do something," Piper said. "I wanted to put myself in contact with people around me and to have some relevance. And working with children has always been important to me."
With that goal in mind, Piper turned to CASA. She had first learned of CASA through Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw's work with the program and also knew about it through Arizona Early Intervention, with which she spent the last 9 years of her career working.
On February 6, 2012, Piper was appointed her first case. And since then, she has already taken on a second.
"There's something really momentous to have been monitoring a case and to have created relationships with people in all aspects of the case, then to have the judge in the courtroom saying, 'What does the CASA recommend?'" Piper said. "I mean, just the idea that you could actually make a difference in a child's life, how important is that?"
| Yolanda Josey
Yolanda Josey is a busy grandmother and full-time mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, but that doesn't stop her making time for her CASA children.
Josey, a CASA volunteer in Maricopa County, has been working on the same case for more than two years and has formed a special bond with the children for whom she advocates.
"I would rather give up a couple of hours of sleep so that I can sleep a little easier knowing that my CASA child had a smile on his face today," Josey said. "Too many of these children do not have a reason to smile at all."
Josey became a CASA volunteer in early 2010 while she was working part-time. As the oldest of nine children, she spent years helping care for her younger siblings, and with her own children grown, she was ready to spend her time volunteering. Josey discovered CASA on volunteermatch.com, along with a number of other opportunities to help children.
"I looked at other options, but I kept coming back to CASA," Josey said.
Although her role has required her to travel lengthy distances and her case has been difficult, Josey is still glad that she chose CASA.
"The amount of time it takes seems like nothing compared to the good you can do for this child," Josey said. "Each time the child has to start over with a new case manager, teacher, foster parent or anyone, it's hard on them. You can be the one to fill in the blanks for the new person and make yet another change go a little easier on the child."