Monday, Nov 19, 2018
It was an episode of Dr. Phil that piqued the interests of Jeff & Helen Stemmer. After a great deal of discussion they knew that they wanted to get involved, but thought maybe they should wait until after their youngest daughter left home. Over the next couple of months, it seemed the couple was seeing CASA everywhere. "It felt as though God was telling us not to wait," said Helen, "and so we signed up together to begin the very next CASA training." In October 2015 the couple completed their training and each received their first case. Since that time, Jeff & Helen have served on a total of 8 cases acting as the voices for children in need. Here is what the couple had to say about their experiences as CASA volunteers:
Tell us a little more about yourself.
We have been married for 31 years and are the proud parents to two beautiful children. Our son (27) works in the oilfields and our daughter (20) is a Junior at Rogers State University. Our granddaughter is 3 and has captured both of our hearts. We are small business owners operating both a tax firm and property rental business. We love to go to church and are both active in different positions within the church. We love to travel and volunteer within our community.
What are your thoughts on being a CASA volunteer?
Being a CASA volunteer is very rewarding, to know that we have touched children's lives and helped them out of bad and/or dangerous situations. Knowing you had a part in seeing them placed in a permanent safe and healthy environment, is a wonderful feeling.
What surprised you the most about volunteering with CASA?
We were surprised by the number of children that are in need of help.
How have the children you have worked with impacted your life?
We are grateful to have been able to help the children we have served. To see their smiles when they see us, this brightens our lives and makes what we do worth it.
Have you had any cases that have really stuck with you?
Helen: My second case really stands out to me because the two children were so sad and somber. The parents were in denial about their situation and never really bonded with the children during their visits. But in the end, the children were adopted and they are so happy where they are. I stay in touch with them. They smile a lot now and laugh frequently. I am so happy I was a part of bringing these children into a happy, loving family.
Jeff: In my last case the child's father was doing great, working his plan and even moved the child into his home. Everything was going well and we were preparing for the final court date to close the case when he suffered a massive stroke and passed away. This was very disheartening for everyone involved. The previous foster parents decided to pursue adoption and in the end, the child was able to find permanency with loving parents.
What is the most gratifying/self-rewarding experience you've had as a CASA volunteer?
Seeing positive results in the lives of these children and being able to continue the relationship with the children after the cases are closed has been the most rewarding part of being a CASA to date.
What is your advice for a new volunteer or someone considering CASA?
Lead with your heart and never give up. Don't ever think you are not making a difference, because you are, and these children need you.
You too could be the change for a child in need by becoming a CASA volunteer. Volunteer today!