Hearts of Yolo: Ann Cassidy-Stone

Thursday, Aug 10, 2017

Ann Cassidy-Stone became interested CASA over fifteen years ago when she heard about it from a friend. After she retired in 2012 and her three children were grown, she felt the time was right.  She went through the training that spring and is now on her third CASA assignment.

She discusses a moment with her CASA child that impacted her. “My current CASA child is in a great home where she is going to be adopted. I know she is doing well because recently she was riding with me in the car and she saw an airplane. She pointed it out to me, smiled and watched it. That was the first time I’d ever seen her relaxed and enjoying things like a child should. I know it seems simple but that is why it is so impactful—foster children have had so much hardship and uncertainty in their lives, they truly forget how to just be a kid.”

Moments like these are what inspire Ann to work as hard as she can for her CASA child. She discusses how engaged she finds herself as a CASA volunteer. “I realized quickly that I couldn’t just ‘shut it off’. With all of my CASA children, I have constantly been on the alert for what they need from their school, for their mental health, their placement, or other needs so that I can find and bring the proper resources to my CASA child.”

She remembers this with her second CASA child, who was placed with Joy and John Schutzman. “The situation was bleak at first, and the Schutzmans were wonderful to work with. They were extremely supportive of my efforts to spend time with my CASA child. When efforts toward reunification were being made by my CASA child’s father, we all played an important role and worked together to facilitate it. Mine was to be an objective and concerned listener, working with the Schutzmans and my CASA child’s father to make sure his needs were being met. I will never forget the day in court when my CASA child was reunified with his father. It was a moment for which we had all worked so hard.”

Ann currently has a good friend in CASA training. “My friend called me the other day and said she was nervous and didn’t know if she could do it. I told her that those feelings are a sign that she is perfect for the job. As a CASA volunteer, you have the power to change a child’s life for the better and spot and mitigate red flags or bad situations early on. Who wouldn’t be nervous?”

Ann continues, “But here’s the upside. You are the only person who is guaranteed to be with your foster child from the time you start until the case is closed. My current CASA child has several social workers, sometimes changing monthly. Somebody who is consistent has so much to offer. It is so important, and there is nothing quite like knowing that you helped a child through one of the most confusing and lonely times in their life.”

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