Hearts of Yolo Profile: Georgia Corbett

Thursday, Jun 30, 2016

In 1997, Georgia Corbett asked herself “What’s next?” and we’re glad her answer was to become a Yolo County CASA volunteer.

Georgia first arrived in Davis to attend college, and except for the year she went away to receive her Master’s degree in education of exceptional children, she has remained in Davis ever since. For years, she worked with children who were deaf and hard of hearing, from first grade to junior high. When she had children of her own, she took a break from education to spend more time with her children and help her husband with his business. As her children were nearing high school graduation, she started thinking about the magical question above, and largely because of her background in education, looked for child-oriented causes.

Georgia read about a training session for CASAs in the local paper and was part of Yolo County CASA's second training session. She was appointed to a young girl whose older sister had been abused. Both sisters were still in their home at the time of the assignment, but when further abuse was discovered, they were removed. Georgia continued weekly visits with her CASA child as the child was moved from Sacramento to Plumas to Chico. Georgia was often the only steady voice in the girl’s life.

“There is one memory I will never forget. Her foster mother at the time asked me to drop her off at the camp she was attending during the summer after our breakfast outing. We had fun chatting and talking about the books she read that we had checked out from the library and how things were going for her. As I walked her up to her camp, I gave her a hug, told her to have fun, and that I would see her next week. She ran off as excited as most kids do, but as I was getting in my car, she stopped, turned around and said, 'I love you.' I was just so surprised and paused because it was her first time expressing any emotion toward me. Then I told her I loved her too. In that moment, I knew how much she cared, and I also knew how important CASAs are.”

Georgia is happy to report that after four years, the case had a happy ending, “I worked hard with the CASA that was assigned to my CASA child’s sister and we were able to get in touch with a biological aunt and uncle who lived in Southern California with two boys of their own. They ultimately decided to adopt the girls. It was an amazing outcome and we didn’t give up until we got there. The other CASA and I just could not stop advocating until we knew we had done right be these girls. It was an incredible journey.”

If this weren’t enough, Georgia also became a board member during her time as a CASA. “I noticed that all the board members were from Woodland during that time and I thought we could be more effective as an organization if we had a more geographically diverse board. At first I didn’t have myself in mind but when a Davis friend told me she would join if I would, I put on another CASA hat.”

Georgia took a short break from the CASA Board of Directors when she returned to school to get a certificate in early childhood education for children with special needs. She became very busy for several years, still helping in her husband’s business and working part-time with infants who needed early intervention. However, when things settled down again, Yolo County CASA returned to the forefront of her mind and she rejoined the board of directors. She reflects on her passion and involvement, “Abused and lonely, abandoned and invisible are just a few of the feelings some foster children experience before having a CASA. Finally finding safety, knowing there is someone they can trust, the sense of belonging and that they truly matter to someone are feelings after having a CASA in their life. I serve as a board member because I am passionate about collaborating with other team members in the CASA organization to help as many children as possible through our programs.”

She also highlights the progress she’s seen in the organization through the years, “Some very compelling information has come to light with the recent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research. We now have concrete evidence that relationships are the leading tool to counteract the effects of trauma and vastly improve the outcomes of foster children. It’s wonderful to know that we’ve been providing these relationships for years and we are strengthening our program even more by educating our volunteers about ACEs and the findings.”

While Georgia says CASAs are the lifeblood that keep Yolo County CASA going, none of it would be possible without the staff and many supporters that donate their time and money to the cause. “I am in awe every time we have an event that people hear our message, trust us, and come out to help. The sense of community around CASA is truly very touching.”

Thank you, Georgia, for being a pillar in that community.

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