Hearts of Yolo: Nancy Agee

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018

Nancy Agee was inspired by her own childhood experiences to become a CASA volunteer. “My family moved to Davis when I was entering 4th grade. I was chubby and freckle-faced, and as I got older, I became the subject of a lot of bullying, particularly when I moved on to junior high. Once a group of boys even followed me home and threw rocks at me.” There were a couple of teachers at Holmes Jr. High School who reached out and befriended Nancy, opening their classrooms to her at lunch and after school. “These teachers went above and beyond to provide me a safe haven that I desperately needed. We really bonded and they helped me find things I was really good at, like math and learning languages.”

Nancy went on to major in German and minor in math at UC Davis and moved to the East Bay Area after college with her husband. After several years, and needing a change from the East Bay, Nancy and her husband moved their three children back to Davis where her parents still lived. “It was a change we all needed,” she says. She also pursued her dream of becoming a teacher herself. “After all these years of raising a family I finally went back and earned my teaching credential. Then I got a job teaching at Holmes Jr. High—the very school where I was bullied, tormented, and ultimately saved and inspired. To pay it forward, I provided a safe haven for many with my classroom. It became known as a safe place with open doors and I had many different types of students spend a lot of time with me there.”

In June, when Nancy retired, she reminded her fellow teachers that it is important to “love on” students and provide the safe atmosphere they need to thrive. And it was retirement that inspired her to become a CASA volunteer. “I’d heard about CASA at my church and I knew that retirement would give me enough time to devote to being a CASA volunteer.”

Nancy received her CASA child—a five-year-old girl—a few months ago. “Her profile just spoke to me. Then I found out she likes music—and I am a singer—I perform at the Woodland Opera House and have always loved it--so we sang a lot during our first visit!” Nancy also describes a very special moment during that visit, “She hugged me before I went to leave that day and I felt compelled to kiss her on the forehead. I knew then and have known since, that it is my calling in retirement to provide safe havens for foster children going through tumultuous times.”

Speaking of her calling, Nancy hopes that others feel called too. “Being a CASA is such a powerful way to give back to a child that needs stability and love. Our children and grandchildren have so much and foster children do not. They struggle in the school system and with their identity. They move around a lot and just need a person to ‘love on’ them.” Nancy adds that the CASA staff is a wonderful resource. “The staff just truly amazes me. There is not a moment where you don’t feel supported and appreciated as a CASA volunteer.”

As Nancy reflects further upon her CASA volunteer experience, she says, “I knew through being a teacher that there was a need to support foster children but I don’t think it hit me just how much until becoming a CASA volunteer; it’s so important and so needed.”

 

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