Hearts of Yolo: Sara Plaughter

Thursday, Jun 14, 2018

Inspired by her own calling to adopt a child someday, Sarah Plaughter heard about Yolo County CASA through a friend who suggested she try becoming a CASA volunteer to get more familiar with the dependency system. A few years later, Sarah was reminded about Yolo County CASA by her cousin who had heard about it in a college class. "I had been waiting for the right time to become a CASA volunteer. I noticed it was something people seemed to do when they were retired or not working full time so I was hesitant about the time commitment at first. However, when my cousin mentioned it to me, I decided to just do it, and I am very glad I did."

Sarah is a busy professional, working full-time for the Area Agency on Aging, however, she finds that being a CASA volunteer fits right in with some careful planning. "My CASA child was placed over three hours away for nearly two years so in-person visits would be a day-long endeavor. We would do that about once a month and then have phone calls at least once a week. We settled into a natural rhythm that worked for both of our schedules."

Sarah still recalls a pivotal moment in one of their first meetings, "Things really changed when she found out I didn't get paid. As a teenager, she was getting a little tired of so many paid professionals in her life. When I told her I wasn't paid to be there for her, but that I just wanted to be, it meant a lot. Our relationship just clicked on another level."

Sarah holds educational rights for her CASA youth and speaks fondly of the advocacy component. "Being older, my CASA youth was capable of advocating for herself but didn't always fully understand the process. I was able to come in and help her understand exactly what her rights were and how to advocate for those rights within the system."

Even though Sarah's CASA youth is now eighteen, they are still in touch. "We are still in contact and I have made it very clear to her that I am there for her. I think it's important for her to know that people who come into her life can be permanent, caring, life-long friends."

As for the future, Sarah sees herself volunteering for a long time. "There are so many foster children in Yolo County who need a consistent adult relationship to help them through uncertain times and show them how much they matter. I am so glad I decided that the time was right and became a CASA volunteer."

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