Hearts of Yolo: Bridget Gruber

Thursday, Feb 1, 2018

Becoming a mother led Bridget Gruber to Yolo County CASA. “I work in biotech and am an environmentalist and had always volunteered for environmental causes. After having children, I became interested in helping children in need. I noticed CASA on a friend of mine’s LinkedIn page and researched it. I thought it sounded like a great fit for the type of volunteering I wanted to do.”

Bridget has been a CASA volunteer to her eight year old CASA child for a year. “My kids are three and four and-a-half years old so I wanted to advocate for a child close in age to mine.” Over the past year, Bridget’s CASA child has had three different placements. “I truly am the only constant person in his life amidst new schools, new social workers, and others. I’ve noticed he gets attached very quickly and calls his new foster parents mom and dad quickly after he gets a new placement. He is extremely resilient but it’s still tough to watch a child go through what he has in only a year.”

Multiple placements make the advocacy side of being a CASA volunteer really stand out to Bridget. “I know it’s important for him to be with his brother so I’ve always advocated to keep them together. After his second placement, I asked him how he was doing, and he said, ‘I have my stuff and I have my brother. That’s all I need.’ It brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it because his childhood is so different from most children’s.”

Speaking of a different childhood, Bridget recently took her CASA child to a Rivercats game. “He had no idea how baseball worked so I was trying to explain all the rules to him first. Then we went and got cotton candy and popcorn. I’ll never forget him sitting in his seat, eating cotton candy, and with a big smile exclaiming, ‘I feel like a king.’ It was a bittersweet experience to see him so happy to experience a baseball game and cotton candy because for most kids, stuff like that is commonplace.”

As Bridget continues to reflect, she says, “I started out being very excited to give everything I could through this volunteer role and now I feel like I am the one who received a gift. If you feel called to help a child in need, please consider becoming a CASA volunteer.”


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