Hearts of Yolo: Steve Adams

Thursday, Oct 12, 2017

                Steve Adams arrived in Davis 27 years ago to attend law school and launch a second career.  Now with two grown children, and after practicing environmental law with several state agencies, he found Yolo County CASA as he was looking to give back in retirement. “A colleague of mine highly recommended the program, as well as the mother of one of my daughter’s friends. My wife was also familiar with the program and is now in training to become a CASA volunteer herself.”

                Steve was assigned a CASA youth, a 15-year-old boy, over the summer. “The first visit included his foster parents and extended family. We talked about his interests and logistics about when to meet.” Right away, Steve got to know his CASA youth. “He was extremely articulate and open. We talked about almost anything, from how he was doing in school to his recreational interests.”

                Many of Steve’s recent visits with his CASA youth have involved games of pool. “We have fallen into a bit of a rut of getting something to eat and then playing some pool. It’s been a good rut, actually.  We discovered we are both very bad at pool. I think this is for the best – we can tease each other about all the missed shots.  Most of our games end with one of us scratching rather than either of us clearing the table, but I do like to think we’re getting better.” Steve said his CASA youth loves to skateboard. “He is really quite good – and fearless when it comes to practicing tricks that can send him and his board flying. Once he invited me to watch him at the skate park and it was really fun to see him in action.” Skateboard decks need to be replaced periodically since the asphalt scrapes away the edges of the wood, and the youth’s board was really chewed up. “I talked to the Yolo County CASA staff and they funded a new skateboard for him.  It was a little thing, but very nice that CASA could step in and help make that happen.”

                With a legal background, Steve naturally enjoys the advocacy side but emphasizes that no legal background is needed to succeed—the training covers all the tools needed, and CASA supervisors are available to answer questions and make suggestions. The training also highlights the importance of the CASA volunteer’s role in the system. “The attorneys and social workers have extremely large caseloads. As a CASA volunteer, you are able to give your assigned youth the one-on-one time that some of the professionals just aren’t able to provide because of their extremely demanding workloads.”

          Steve’s CASA child has a couple of siblings, who also have been assigned CASAs, so sometimes all the siblings and their CASA volunteers join for a shared activity. “One of my favorite aspects of being a CASA volunteer is the amount of direct contact you get with the youth you’re assigned. It’s satisfying in a way that I haven’t always found with volunteer work that focuses on an overall program instead of on an individual.”

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