Monday, Apr 19, 2021
As a wife, mother, and small business owner, Jessica Nguyen was not short on things to keep her busy, but she wanted to do more. Jessica's passion and love for helping others led her to the doors of CASA. Jessica has been a dedicated CASA volunteer for 2 years and has served on 2 cases, advocating for the best interests of 6 children. We were able to take a moment to sit down and ask Jessica a few questions about her experiences as a CASA volunteer. Here is what she had to say.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
I am married to an amazing man, Phan, and together we have two kiddos (Selah, 2 and Jude, 4). Family is very important to us so we love to spend time together. We spend a lot of time camping, hiking, fishing, cycling and exploring. As a family, we own Queen City Oils and Vinegars where we serve oils, vinegars, smoothie bowls, coffee, and so much more! We attend New Community Church and are currently homeschooling our kiddos. We love the chance to love on people and we always strive to leave people better than they came by ways of a smile, compliment, and just being kind.
How did you first hear about and get involved with CASA?
Before we were parents, we were foster parents to several kiddos. We learned about CASA through our involvement as foster parents and also through my husband, Phan, and the work that he does.
What is it like to be a volunteer?
Being a volunteer is a gift. I truly feel that we all have a vital part to play in helping kiddos in the system. Whether it is through fostering, adopting, providing respite, being a CASA volunteer, or supporting the many other amazing organizations such as Fostering Hope and Kids' Space. These children need a voice. They need someone that will listen to them and let them know they are heard. Being a volunteer, I feel such a responsibility to be there for the children I serve and for them all to know that I am listening and will be there for them.
What would you tell someone considering becoming a CASA volunteer?
If you have a tug on your heart for CASA, give it a try! The need is so great. You don't have to know how before you start. You will have so much support and are provided so many resources along the way!
What has surprised you most about volunteering with CASA?
Before I joined CASA I was a little nervous about court, but it was much easier than I had imagined. The support you receive from the CASA staff is truly amazing. They will walk you through every step of the journey!
Have you had any cases that have really stuck with you? Why?
The case I am currently serving on has really been amazing. It is so awesome to see how all the children have progressed and grown to be such amazing teens. It has been especially great to see the baby of the case getting caught up on all the big milestones after starting off so far behind! I love to see how well they are doing overall.
What is the most gratifying/self-rewarding experience you've had as a volunteer?
Earning the trust of the children I am working with. It means the world to me to know that they understand how much I care about them and want what is truly best for them. Earning the trust of teens is a long road, but absolutely worth it.
How have the children you have worked with impacted your life?
All of the children I have served have forever impacted my life. I am always amazed by how strong they are. How they forgive, process, and love those around them. It may be scary to work with teens at times, but goodness, they are phenomenal and they need you.
What advice do you have for new volunteers?
I remember starting my first case and thinking how much I hoped to change the lives of the children I served. But they change you just as much or more.