Oklahoma, CASA for Children, Inc.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Sam Sprague

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

Volunteer Spotlight. Sam Sprague. Family. Mom and dad. Two boys.

For most people being a classroom teacher, mother, wife, and florist would be enough to keep them busy, but not for Sam Sprague. Sam had some down time in her life that she wanted to fill by helping children. Her first step, become a CASA volunteer. Sam has been volunteering with CASA for just over one year now. In that time, Sam was able to advocate for the best interests of an adorable five-year-old girl and witness the beautiful reunification between the child and her mother. We had the opportunity to sit down with Sam and ask her a few questions about her experiences as a CASA volunteer. Here is what she had to say. 


Tell us about yourself. 

I am 30 years old, married to a great guy named Tanner, and we have two beautiful kids. Our son, Charlie is three and our daughter, Isla, is a year old. I am passionate about teaching English - I have been a 7th grade classroom teacher for nine years now! I love spending time with my family and friends, shopping, and decorating. I work for a wedding florist, so I am able to help design and implement some pretty amazing floral contraptions for beautiful weddings. 


How did you first hear about and get involved with CASA?

I've been interested in foster care for a really long time, but knew it wasn't a right fit for our family just yet. I learned about CASA and realized this was the perfect place for me to utilize my passion to care for foster children and youth. 


What is it like to be a CASA volunteer?

It keeps me on my toes! My time so far has gone pretty smooth, but I've had amazing supervisors to help keep me on track and focus on my goals. 


What would you tell someone considering becoming a CASA?

Be prepared to have a lot of conflicting feelings - while you want what is best for the child on your case, their parents, and their current placement, those feelings can often contradict what may be best for the child in that moment. 


What has surprised you most about volunteering with CASA?

I was shocked at how much my CASA training would impact my role as a teacher. I feel like I've been more sensitive to a child's situation and also had a better understanding of what they may be facing. As teachers, we are taught to care for the children we teach, but there is so much missing training on how to identify if there are issues to begin with. I feel like CASA really taught me how to utilize that training in all areas of my life. 


Have you had any cases that have really stuck out to you? If so, why? 

I've only had the one case so far, but it was such a joyful case because I was able to witness the biological mother work SO HARD to get her daughter back. As CASA volunteers we advocate for the child, but I was able to do this and also advocate for the family to be reunified. It was a beautiful experience. 


What is the most gratifying/self-rewarding experience you've had as a volunteer?

Watching the little girl on my case be reunited with her mother. I believe a child's greatest desire is to be with their biological family. Although that is not always what is best for every child, it's amazing to have seen it play out perfectly for my case.


How have the children you have worked with impacted your life? 

My first (and only) child has taught me how a child should be treated and valued during this tumultuous process. She rolled with the punches and kept her joy-filled spirit the entire time. 


What advice do you have for a new volunteer? 

Don't be afraid to start the process. I was so worried about saying the wrong thing or not knowing how to get the answers I needed, but my supervisors helped me through the process so much. I feel much more confident taking a new case at this point. You will get so much help, so don't let that fear stop you from advocating for someone who needs it most. 


More CASA volunteers, like Sam, are needed to advocate for children who enter the child welfare system. Volunteers who will help to ensure these children have the best opportunities to thrive. Are you ready to help? Volunteer today!


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