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Advocate of the Month for August: Brandi Cromley

Carpenter, Court Reporter, and CASA of CGS Gloucester County Advocate

For better or for worse, our experiences as children shape us. These moments in our formative years affect the way we think, the way we act, and the way we perceive the world around us. For Brandi Cromley, her childhood motivated her to be the change in a child’s life who needs it most.

Growing up, Brandi and her sisters were raised in kinship care. And although she had a roof over her head and a safe place to live, she still felt like she was overlooked at times and wasn’t provided with everything she needed as a young girl. Looking back, she wishes she had someone to advocate for her and make a difference in her life--someone like a CASA volunteer.

Brandi joined our team at CASA of CGS as a Gloucester County Advocate nearly two years ago, learning about us and the work we do through a friend who works for the Family Strengthening Network, an organization with close ties to ours. And since she became an advocate she has made such an incredible impact on the lives of the four CASA children she has served.

“When I first met Brandi I knew we were going to work well together and my expectations became reality,” says Brandi’s Gloucester County Advocate Coordinator Michele Musick. “Her passion for children in foster care was immediately apparent as she took on one of our biggest cases without fear, not to mention with a pandemic right around the corner. Her advocacy for her children and court presence has been impeccable. She is a true blessing to our CASA program and I am grateful to have Brandi on my team and call her a friend.”

Brandi’s drive and dedication as a CASA volunteer is guided by her own upbringing; and now that she is able to give back to the community and help other children in similar situations as she was growing up, she goes above and beyond for her CASA youth to ensure they have the best support system and get everything they both want and need.

“Moments that mean a lot to me are when we get to make sure that these kids have a safe place to live but that they are also waking up to gifts on Christmas morning, and when they go to school they have everything they need beyond just a safe place to live,” says Brandi. “Knowing that someone remembered their birthday...those things are what matters a lot.”

And Brandi’s caring heart goes beyond just her advocacy for her CASA children. Since becoming a volunteer, it has opened her eyes to the struggles that the families go through as well.

“It’s easy to look from the outside, but I feel for the families whose children have been removed because they are struggling too,” she says. “As a CASA advocate I definitely have more empathy now for the biological parents, knowing that this is hard for them too and sometimes they just need resources to help make life work.”

Brandi’s open-minded, empathetic approach to her work as a CASA volunteer is just one of the reasons why she is such an outstanding advocate for her CASA youth.

“Brandi is such a kind soul with a passion for helping kids and people in need,” says CASA of CGS Recruitment and Training Coordinator Julia Shulzhenko. “When she came to our program she was looking to make a difference in a child’s life. Throughout training she was dedicated to learning as much as possible to help her in this role. She has definitely made a difference in the case she serves and has also left a positive impact on our program!”

Brandi always tries to be there for the people in her life, whether it’s friends, family, or CASA, and we are so lucky to have someone as kind, giving, and thoughtful as her on our team.

“CASA is amazing,” she says. “Everybody is so helpful and they truly care about the children. It’s not people just clocking in--it’s people who truly care about the children and the families. They’ve been nothing but kind and encouraging to me. It’s very easy to be a CASA when you have such a great support system.”

Thank you, Brandi, for all your hard work as a CASA volunteer. You are an indispensable part of this family, and your hard work never goes unnoticed!

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