In the bustling world of child advocacy, there are stars that shine brightly, illuminating paths for the most vulnerable. Judy, an unwavering force and our esteemed Advocate of the Month, embodies this radiant spirit with her commitment, expertise, and a heart overflowing with compassion.
Judy's journey with CASA began in August 2022, after a long and impactful career spent entirely in the service of at-risk youth. Early on, she served as an educator and program administrator at a detention facility, later transitioning to become a special education teacher for the behavioral disabilities program in her district. Throughout her career, she witnessed firsthand the formidable challenges that these young individuals faced, and she became a steadfast advocate for their well-being.
Michele, Gloucester County Coordinator, aptly describes Judy as a "teenage whisperer," citing her innate ability to connect with troubled youth. "Judy is a patient person with a heart of gold, sprinkled with compassion and understanding yet unwavering by her youths', at times, destructive actions. This skill enables Judy to connect with the most troubled youth. What a godsend Judy has been to our youth, CASA program, and myself. She has so much to give, and I have much to learn from Judy. I am grateful beyond words for her commitment to better lives, one youth at a time."
Reflecting on her journey with CASA, Judy shares her profound insights. "A very close friend of mine told me many, many years ago about the work her mom did volunteering for CASA in Pittsburgh," she recalls. "At the time, my life did not allow for this type of volunteer work, but I kept it in my mind as a future endeavor. When I retired, I researched CASA and signed on."
Retirement didn't signal a rest for Judy; it signaled an opportunity to channel her expertise and heart into CASA. "If I can help one child, it's worth my time and effort," she states with unwavering determination. Throughout her career, Judy's model of support has left lasting imprints on the lives she's touched. Former students still reach out, seeking her guidance, showcasing the enduring impact she's made.
"I have always understood the challenges faced by vulnerable and at-risk youth," Judy emphasizes. "Knowing they have someone in their corner brings me comfort and hope."
"The support from CASA staff is phenomenal so if you are unsure, know they will guide you and support you," Judy highlights, expressing the reassuring assistance available to volunteers.
Her experience with CASA of CGS has been nothing short of transformative.
Judy acknowledges the realities of the work, emphasizing that while it's not a fairy tale, the perseverance through struggles is pivotal in effective advocacy. Her advice to potential volunteers echoes her own journey: "There is a great need for CASAs. These kids need us, and together, we can be the change we wish to see in the world."
Judy's journey exemplifies the transformative power of dedicated advocacy. She's not just a CASA advocate; she's a lifeline for vulnerable youth, a guiding light through their darkest times. Her selfless commitment serves as an inspiration for others to join this noble cause, amplifying the voices of those who need it most. Judy's story reminds us: change begins with each one of us, and together, we can build a brighter future for our children.