Hearts of Yolo: Lesley May

Thursday, Mar 30, 2017

When Lesley May’s children were 9, 11, 16 and 19, she noticed an article in the paper recruiting CASA volunteers. “Clearly I Leslie Maywas busy, but it just struck me as something I would really like to do.” Nearly a decade later, she has helped three different foster children through her role as a CASA volunteer.

As Lesley reflects on being a CASA, she thinks back to her very first case. “Her social worker said she was quiet. When I met her, I learned quickly that she wasn’t quiet at all. She just wasn’t as outgoing as her sister. She simply needed someone to sit with her and give her a chance to open up.”

As Lesley got to know her first CASA child, she quickly realized that her CASA child was not on track to graduate high school. “We worked really hard to get her back on track. She really needed someone to motivate her and cheer for her. When she graduated high school, it was one of my happiest days. We had done it and I knew her life would be very different from where she was originally headed.”

When the case formally ended, Lesley made a point to stay friends with her. “When our case ended and the confidentially requirements were lifted, I invited her on a camping trip with my family. It was such a nice time for all of us and really solidified the fact that we were going to continue our relationship beyond our formal CASA relationship.”

As Lesley reflects on her time as a CASA, she puts heavy emphasis on the relational component. “With all of my CASA assignments I’ve quickly realized that just being there for them makes the biggest difference. When a child is removed from their home, their safety net is all of a sudden shattered. We can replace that by showing them that we are a constant in their lives, and that they matter deeply.”

In addition to being a CASA volunteer and having four children of her own, Lesley works part-time and owns a home-based business, but relishes the time she spends as a CASA volunteer. “When you believe in something so strongly, you just make the time. Visits with each of my CASA children are some of the greatest memories I have and I look forward to them every week.”

Thank you, Lesley, for your devotion improving the lives of foster children.

 

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