In the world of child advocacy, where empathy, dedication, and compassion are the driving forces behind every success story, Edwin stands as a shining example of unwavering commitment. Edwin's journey into the world of CASA began when he attended a recruiting event where he crossed paths with Michele Musick and Kay Delp, two passionate advocates for CASA's mission. Michele's persuasive words resonated deeply with him, but it was a timeless quote that sealed the deal for Edwin: “As I contemplated getting involved with the organization — the pressing needs of these kids, the responsibility, the hours, the commitment — that famous quote from the ancient rabbi, Hillel the Elder, kept creeping into my mind: ‘If not you, then who? If not now, then when?’ Oh, boy — pretty hard to argue with this. And I just couldn’t shake it. So between Michele and Rabbi Hillel, resistance was futile.”
Edwin comes to the table with a wealth of experience, having previously worked in a senior subsidized housing facility in South Philadelphia, where he organized a myriad of activities, from cooking and gardening to arts and crafts and music, bringing joy and connection to the lives of the residents. Retired from his career as a Market Research Consultant, Edwin now dedicates his time to CASA and his passions, including gardening, music, and reading. He has served two adolescents during his tenure, and his impact on their lives is nothing short of transformative.
Edwin's impact extends far beyond the courtroom. He has served on his cases with compassion and dedication, and his story is exemplified by his effort to find the perfect guitar for one of his CASA youth. Through extensive research and the Give a Child Hope Fund, he secured a brand new guitar that will undoubtedly inspire and uplift the young man for years to come. Furthermore, Edwin spends valuable time teaching the youth how to play the guitar, fostering not only a love for music but also a sense of mentorship.
Since joining CASA, Edwin has been continually motivated by witnessing the unwavering commitment of fellow CASAs. He marvels at the depth of dedication displayed by individuals who dedicate their time to these children, Edwin reflects on this, saying, “I think the most motivating thing I have learned has been about the commitment that other CASAs bring to their volunteering. Some people give so much! And others have such busy lives but somehow manage to make time for these kids, as well. It’s humbling.”
"What we know is that when you open your heart to a kid, they're in there for good. After you experience one of these kids, in their world, it doesn't really take much effort. It does take some courage to open your heart, but actually, you can just take a breath and jump in. You won't drown in it — you get a lot of support as a CASA. The staff of CASA of CGS is just amazing," Edwin passionately affirms, underscoring the profound motivation driving his ongoing dedication to the invaluable work he does as a CASA advocate.
Reflecting on his experience, Edwin acknowledges that, “… being a CASA is an experience of facing the unknown and getting used to it. You never know what’s going to come at you and how much fruit your efforts might bear. Some things just don’t work out, and that’s a disappointment, but some things do. Just being there, looking for a way to help, will always have a positive impact on somebody, even if it’s just you. And you never know when, long after the fact, it’ll turn out that you've made a difference.”
For those considering joining CASA, Edwin offers a heartfelt piece of wisdom:
“We all have so much we want to do, and so much we have already committed to our families, our friends, and heaven knows who else, but advocating for a kid as a CASA doesn't need to take up much of your time. What it takes is the willingness to put yourself in a place where someone needs something from you. And that’s not always comfortable. The job here is the hard work of figuring out how much you’ve got to give in that moment, and then giving that.”
A quote that has helped guide him on this journey, a version of what Theodore Roosevelt once said, quoting a man named Bill Widener of Widener’s Valley, Virginia: ‘“You just do what you can, in the place where you are, with the time that you’ve got.”’
Edwin's impact as a CASA advocate extends beyond his individual cases. Gloucester Senior Advocate Coordinator, Michele, praises his creativity in connecting with a young adult male, “Right at the start, Edwin jumped in headfirst to support and guide a young adult male, which is not an easy task. The creativity in his approach was utilized through Edwin's love of cooking, to which he and the young man would prepare and enjoy the meal they created together. Communication became challenging, but Edwin continued to persevere with patience and grace. His report writing skills are impeccable, but what I treasured most was our talks and words of wisdom he would impart to me. It has been a pleasure working with him.”
Vivian, Cumberland Advocate Coordinator, recognizes Edwin's exceptional work in serving young adults and his ability to overcome unique challenges, saying, “The work of a CASA serving a young adult can sometimes present unique challenges. In this role, Edwin has excelled with his infinite patience, fresh perspective, and infusion of music to keep his CASA youth engaged. Not even a language barrier has stopped Edwin. His commitment is inspirational.”
In celebrating Edwin as our CASA Advocate of the Month, we honor not only his dedication but also the transformative power of compassion, mentorship, and connection. Edwin's journey reminds us that the impact of a CASA advocate extends far beyond the courtroom, leaving a lasting legacy of hope, resilience, and positive change. Thank you, Edwin, for your outstanding service to the children and youth in our community. You are a true inspiration, and your story is a testament to the difference one person can make in the lives of others.