Meet Debra, the Volunteer Advocate

Posted on September 27th, 2016

Tell me a little about yourself….(career, school, background info, etc) 

I am 48, married, with 2 kids (ages 22 and 19).  My husband and I are close to being empty-nesters now, which partially played into my decision to apply to be a CASA volunteer  I am a 26-year employee of Eli Lilly and Company.  I am currently an auditor for the company, but I don’t audit books.  I audit clinical laboratories and clinical investigators.

swain-photoWhen did you become a volunteer advocate? 

I became a volunteer in June 2015, one of a large class of Lilly employees who were all sworn in last summer.

What made you decide to become a volunteer advocate?

It took me a while to make the decision to become a volunteer.  I had heard about it years ago from a friend who was a volunteer, but it wasn’t a good time in my life just then.  Then last year, it seemed like everywhere I looked I saw stuff about Child Advocates needing volunteers, and more importantly, how many kids there were “in the system”.  There were articles in the paper, billboards on the street…it just was everywhere!  I also started seeing the CHINS notices every day in the paper.  Maybe they were there all along, but I had never really noticed them before.  It seemed like there were a dozen every day.  It made me start to think about it more.  But what really pushed me off the fence was the fact that Child Advocates made it easy for me to do the training, by coming in to Lilly over our lunch hour.  All that, combined with the fact that my kids are out of the house (which freed up my time considerably), made me decide that now was the time.

What is the most rewarding part of being a volunteer advocate?

I do enjoy getting to meet new families, and I love having a kid on my lap to read to again once in a while. (I didn’t realize how much I’d missed that when my kids started reading on their own!)

What advice would you give to someone interested in being a volunteer advocate?

As for advice, I would tell someone to first check out the  CA website and Facebook page for some good information about what GALs and CASAs do.  Then I would tell them to talk to other CASA volunteers to hear some firsthand information.  Then the best thing to do is just go get involved.  You learn as you go!