Beach Lover, Mother of Four, and CASA of CGS Volunteer Advocate
Four months. What does four months mean to you? Summer fun? Cozying up by the fireplace while winter storms brew outside? For a teenager in foster care, four months could mean four different placements, four completely new families and faces, three different schools, frequent run-ins with the police, and next to zero consistency.
When Lydia Ramsey joined our team at CASA of CGS, she found her CASA youth while she was on the run. Within four short months, she had been placed in four different homes, started over in three different schools, and ran away four different times–each time, with Lydia finding her before it was too late.
“It’s heartbreaking what these kids go through,” said Lydia. “So whatever I can do to make their world a little happier and give them love and consistency and spoil them, I will do it. Having someone that's there for you that doesn't change through it all is so important to them. With CASA, you’re their constant.”
Starting over and over and over, surrounded by unfamiliar people and places, can be traumatic for any child–let alone children who have already endured years of trauma in their own home during their formative years. This lack of consistency is why the stable, supportive advocacy of CASA volunteers is so important for these children. Amidst the turmoil and uncertainty of her CASA youth’s life, Lydia is a familiar, guiding face, always there–no matter what–to support her youth, give her advice, and fight for her best interests.
“Lydia is one of the most reliable, hard-working, and compassionate people I have ever worked with,” said Michele Musick, CASA of CGS Gloucester County Senior Advocate Coordinator. “She is a fierce advocate that is unwavering in the most dire of circumstances. She does this with determination and grace–sprinkled with a little humor–and somehow makes it look and feel easy. To say our CASA youth and families are better for having Lydia on their side is an understatement, and I am so happy she is on my team.”
Lydia has made giving back a priority in both her personal and professional life for as far back as she can remember. From volunteering in clinics during her college years to feeding unhoused people in Philadelphia through Feeding 5000, her friend’s charity, to hosting benefits at her home to raise money for young mothers and for families who have experienced domestic violence, she is no stranger to serving her community, and truly has a heart for giving.
“When we are so blessed and we are given so much it’s so important to give back,” said Lydia. “In this world we are placed on earth to serve others, and we can do that through volunteering.”
Lydia came across CASA through her work as Program Director of Revisions Youth, a local charity that works with youth with adverse childhood experiences (ACES), matching them with mentors, providing them with healthy outlets, and helping them stay out of trouble.
“Working with kids in my program, I just have a soft spot in my heart for these kids,” said Lydia. “I love working with teenagers and helping change their outcomes and make their lives better. And if it were one of my kids, I would hope a CASA would take them under their wing and care for them.”
Driven by her passion for figuring out how to put an end to intergenerational trauma, Lydia puts her all into her advocacy, dedicated to guiding her youth towards a positive future filled with happiness, success, and consistency. And at the end of the day, what makes it all worthwhile for Lydia is the relationship, appreciation, and love she has been able to grow with her CASA youth. Hearing her youth say “I love you” at the end of every phone call is the biggest thank you, and reminds her that she is making a difference, one day at a time.
Thank you, Lydia, for everything you do! You have remained a constant in your CASA youth’s life despite the ever-changing circumstances, always going above and beyond to help better her life. You are a CASA superhero and we are so grateful to have you on our team–your hard work never goes unnoticed!