Hearts of Yolo: Eileen Allen

Thursday, Aug 24, 2017

Eileen Allen followed her calling to become a CASA volunteer when she retired a little over a year ago. “I learned about Yolo County CASA in the Davis Enterprise and knew that I wanted to become a volunteer someday.” Today, Eileen serves two toddlers through her role as a CASA volunteer. “I absolutely love spending time with two adorable, small children who are now beginning to thrive.”

One of Eileen’s CASA children is progressing toward adoption, and the other has recently been reunited with her birth parents. With both children, she has become adept at looking for cues to indicate their well-being. “Toddlers can’t explain things the way older children can so I explore their environment, physical appearance, and moods to look for both good signs and red flags. Over the past year, if I’ve seen issues, I’ve flagged them to my advocate supervisor at Yolo County CASA, to social workers, and to the court.”

Speaking of court, Eileen appreciates that aspect of the job. “I find going to court extremely interesting and stimulating. I’ve spoken for my CASA children many times there. Being a CASA volunteer means bringing two completely different spheres together. There is the advocacy side of collecting observations and presenting material to the court and then there is the direct relational component with the CASA child.”

As for the relational component, Eileen speaks fondly of a memory with one of her CASA children. “Her foster parents had just returned home from a camping trip and her foster mother still had to clean out a cooler. It was a really hot day so I thought it would be fun to go outside and hose it off for her. That progressed into my CASA child wanting to move a bunch of pebbles around. It was just a lighthearted moment that any toddler would have with a parent or friend and it really highlights the need for foster children to have healthy relationships after being placed into care.”

As Eileen reflects on her experience, she states, “It’s been nice to be able to serve an area of immediate need in such a hands-on way. I hope that anyone thinking of becoming a CASA volunteer will give it a try. It is so needed.”

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